How can HR help Malaysians affected by COVID-19 lockdown?

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower offers to support employees through the two-week travel ban

How can HR help Malaysians affected by COVID-19 lockdown?

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is offering support to employees affected by Malaysia’s short-term lockdown and travel ban.

On Monday (16 March), Malaysia’s Prime Minister implemented a national “restricted movement order” to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Effective March 18 to 31, the lockdown will bar citizens from travelling overseas. The order did not make clear its impact on Malaysians who travel daily across the causeway to their Singapore-based workplaces.

Following the news, MOM told employers to encourage workers to stay and work in Singapore for the short term.

“They can stay with their relatives or friends,” MOM said. “They can also consider staying at hotels, hostels or dormitories.”

On their website, MOM released a list of available hotels and dormitories that can house workers affected by the two-week travel restriction. The government is working with the properties to provide lower-cost rentals.

In a press conference on Tuesday (17 March), Minister Josephine Teo said companies affected by Malaysia's travel restrictions will receive an allowance of $50 per worker per night for 14 nights to cover the extra costs incurred.

MOM advised employers to assess their manpower needs carefully and decide whether they need their affected workers to remain in Singapore.

“In providing assistance, we will prioritise the needs of firms that provide essential services such as healthcare, security, cleaning, waste management, facilities management, logistics and transport,” MOM said.

READ MORE: Can HR fire staff who breach a COVID-19 quarantine order?

News of Malaysia’s lockdown came just after Singapore implemented travel restrictions to ASEAN countries on Sunday, with returning residents and long-term pass holders required to serve a Stay Home Notice for 14 days.

The government made an exception for Singaporeans and Malaysian work pass holders who commute between the two countries daily. These workers were allowed to travel without being subjected to the quarantine period.

Recent articles & video

70% of employees afraid to report sexual harassment

The striking impact of job promotions on performance

Blue Monday: How to champion employee mental health

'Smart' cushion to monitor employee fatigue raises privacy concerns

Most Read Articles

How to work with a manager who hates HR

2021: Here’s what your HR strategy should look like

MCO 2.0: How can HR support employees?