Employers must send staff home and encourage self-testing
Employers across Singapore have been ordered to implement an immediate 14-day work-from-home scheme for all employees if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19. This is part of the government's latest string of instructions as more businesses make their employees return to work. In the government's updated instructions on Wednesday, a follow-up plan must be implemented in an office in the event of a confirmed case.
"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," the instruction said.
The remote work scheme should be in place no later than a day after the positive test result, the instruction said, with the confirmed case's section in the workplace to be completely vacated and disinfected. All employees affected by the snap remote work are also encouraged to self-swab every to two to three days during the 14-day period.
Aside from a back-up plan, employers must also be equipped with preventive measures, such as monitoring the health of their employees and urging them to stay home in case they feel unwell. Employees who feel sick or are showing symptoms of illness should also immediately inform their supervisor, leave the workplace, and consult the doctor immediately. "Employers must track and record these cases as part of Safe Management Measures," the instruction read.
The Ministry of Manpower, Singapore National Employers Federation, and the National Trades Union Congress issued the instructions to help businesses become more flexible to avoid the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace.
Since August 19, more employees have been permitted to come back to offices. However, employers should make sure that no more than 50% of remote workers are at the workplace at any point in time.