In Singapore, Covid-19 snap work-from-home regime to kick in if at least three employees infected; duration cut to 10 days

With the latest move, MoM said the snap work-from-home arrangements will kick in a day after the third employee receives a positive Covid-19 test result. ― Pexels pic via TODAY
With the latest move, MoM said the snap work-from-home arrangements will kick in a day after the third employee receives a positive Covid-19 test result. ― Pexels pic via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, Sept 21 — From tomorrow (September 22), employers will be required to activate an immediate work-from-home plan for all its employees only when three or more of them test positive for Covid-19 and have been to the workplace in the past seven days. Previously this kicked in when one employee tested positive.

Employees will now need to work from home for a period of only 10 days, four fewer than before, said the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) in its latest advisory on safe management measures in the workplace yesterday. 

However, employees are still strongly encouraged to conduct self-swabs using antigen rapid test kits at least twice a week during the 10-day work-from-home period before returning to their workplaces.

They must inform their employers if they test positive for Covid-19 on a polymerase chain reaction test.

MoM said in a statement that though the snap work-from-home regime was introduced from September 8 to slow down the rate of Covid-19 transmission at workplaces due to the rise in community cases, it has chosen to ease some of the rules to “mitigate potential disruptions to businesses”.

With the latest move, the ministry said the snap work-from-home arrangements will kick in a day after the third employee receives a positive Covid-19 test result. The previous rule, which applies till tomorrow, kicked in when just one employee tested positive.

The ministry said the reduced 10-day work-from-home period was in line with the reduction in the quarantine period for close contacts of Covid-positive cases, which was announced by MoH on September 10.

MoM urged employers and employees to exercise responsibility and to self-isolate if they are known to be close contacts of infected cases.

Besides the snap work-from-home arrangements, MoM said employees must immediately vacate and cordon off the section of the workplace where the confirmed infected person worked and deep-clean the affected area.

Employers must also ensure that they have introduced adequate safe management measures at the workplace, including ensuring that no more than half of their employees who are able to work from home are at the workplace at a time.

They must also bar social gatherings at work and ensure that all meal breaks are taken alone, among other requirements.

The full updated safe management measures at workplaces can be found on MoM’s website.

“As Singapore continues to navigate its way towards becoming a Covid-resillient nation, employers and employees both have a part to play in reducing transmission risk at workplaces.

“We urge everyone to abide by the latest requirements, so as to keep each other safe,” said MoM. ― TODAY

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