About 52,000 employees in Singapore remain unvaccinated against Covid-19, says Ministry of Manpower

About 52,000 employees in Singapore have not received any vaccine dose, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on December 27, 2021. ― TODAY pic
About 52,000 employees in Singapore have not received any vaccine dose, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on December 27, 2021. ― TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Dec 28 — About 52,000 employees in Singapore’s workforce have not received any vaccine dose, with around 6,700 aged 60 and older, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday (December 27).

“Only a small proportion of these employees are medically ineligible for vaccination,” MoM said.

In an updated advisory on Covid-19 vaccination at the workplace, the ministry reported that as of last Sunday, 80 per cent of firms had attained full vaccination coverage for their workforce and 98 per cent of the total workforce had been vaccinated.

“Since then, we have seen the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant which, with the Delta variant, significantly raises the chance of contracting Covid-19 compared with a year ago.

“Unvaccinated employees, especially those who are older, will put immense strain on our healthcare capacity in the coming months if they contract Covid-19,” the ministry said.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced on Sunday that unvaccinated employees would not be allowed to go back to the workplace with a negative Covid-19 test result from January 15.

Work arrangements for unvaccinated employees

MOM said that employers may allow unvaccinated employees to work from home if they assess that such working arrangements sufficiently meet their operational or business needs.

It noted, however, that as the vast majority of vaccinated employees eventually return to workplaces more often, the prolonged absence of unvaccinated employees from the workplace may affect their performance as well as have a negative impact on team or organisational performance.

The advisory said that for unvaccinated employees whose jobs require working on-site, employers can from Jan 15 redeploy them to suitable jobs that can be done from home if such roles are available, with remuneration matching the responsibilities of these jobs.

Employers can also put these employees on no-pay leave based on mutually agreeable terms.

As a last resort after exploring the options, MOM said that employers can terminate the employment of these employees with notice, in accordance with the employment contract.

“If termination of employment is due to employees’ inability to be at the workplace to perform their contracted work, such termination of employment would not be considered as wrongful dismissal,” MOM said.

For employees who are certified medically ineligible to be vaccinated, MOM said that employers should consider allowing them to work from home if they are able to do so, even though these workers are allowed to work on-site.

Their absence from the workplace should not affect assessment of their performance, said the ministry.

Employers should also consider redeploying these employees to suitable jobs that can be done from home if such positions are available.

There should also be special consideration for pregnant employees, and employers should not terminate the employment of medically eligible but unvaccinated pregnant employees.

Instead, they should consider extending to them unpaid leave or support similar to those offered to people who are medically ineligible for vaccination until after the employee has given birth.

The Government, employers and unions urged the remaining 2 per cent of unvaccinated employees to get immunised as soon as possible to protect their well-being and avoid any impact to their jobs and livelihoods. ― TODAY

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