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With employees going back to the office, firms must comply with safety measures

Companies urged to allow staff to start later to avoid overcrowding on public transport




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Singapore — Employees who prefer to work in the office rather than at home have been able to go back to the office from Monday (Sept 28).

With the continuous low numbers of new Covid-19 cases, the authorities are slowly moving towards relaxing more of the Circuit Breaker measures that were imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) updated its guidelines on Sept 23 regarding the required safety rules and measures required at the workplace.

Although the MOM statement cites that “work from home remains the default mode of working”, companies are allowed to have employees return to the workplace for better support and for necessary ongoing operations.

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However, it also enforces the rule that if an employee can work from home (WFH) then employers need to ensure that they will “do so for at least half their working time”. This will help ensure that no more than half the employees will be in the workplace all at the same time.

Aside from making mask-wearing mandatory while at work, MOM also encourages companies to do virtual meetings to minimise contact between people, as well as allow employees to have flexible working hours and to not have all employees report for work at the same time. It also suggests that companies allow employees to have later starting times to avoid overcrowding on public transport.

The authorities also warn employers to watch out for workers who are more vulnerable to the virus and to keep socialising to a minimum.

They also warn companies to take extra precautions with cleaning and disinfecting the workplace, as well as providing the proper sanitation agents for employees to use while in the office.

All workplaces must enforce proper safety measures and social distancing rules, as well as appoint Safe Management Officer(s) or SMOs, whose role will be “to assist in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the system of safe management measures at the workplace”.

To know all the MOM’s requirements for safe management measures in the workplace, see the full statement here. /TISG

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