What Must Singapore Employers Do If A Staff Is Infected With COVID-19?
SINGAPORE – Following reports that the government will impose stricter workplace curbs if an employee is discovered to have been infected with COVID-19, the authorities released more details on the new guidelines, reported The Business Times and Human Resources Director on Thursday morning (9 September, SGT).
Notably, employers across the city-state have been mandated to let staff work from home (WFH) for at least 14 days after a colleague they worked near to tests positive for COVID-19.
“If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and was at the workplace on any of the past seven days, the employer must implement a snap 14-day work-from-home regime for all employees who are able to do so, from the date of positive test result,” according the latest government update posted on Wednesday.
The employer is required to do this not later than 1 day after the positive test result, and the portion of the workplace where the infected employee worked must be completely vacated and disinfected.
Nonetheless, the authorities clarified that the snap WFH regime only applies to all employees who can work from home. Staff whose work cannot be done from home may return to the workplace, such as those who need access to equipment that are only available in the office to do their jobs.
The government also explained that the snap 14-day WFH regime applies to all employees who work on the same level as the infected staff, as well as everyone (including contractors) who came into contact with the infected person. If the infected colleague also performed work on other floors, staff working on those floors will also be subjected. If the company has multiple outlets, the snap WFH regime will cover branches where the infected staff had worked in any of the 7 days before testing positive.
In addition, all staff impacted by the snap WFH regime are encouraged to self-swab every 2 to 3 days during the 14-day period.
The local authorities also said that all employers must implement Safe Management Measures (SMM) at their workplaces for all contractors and staff. These include monitoring the health of their workers and urging them to stay home in case they feel unwell. Personnel who feel sick or are showing symptoms should also immediately notify their bosses, leave the workplace, and consult a doctor immediately.
“Employers must track and record these cases as part of Safe Management Measures,” added the government.