SINGAPORE – Working from home should remain the default arrangement to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission at offices, the labour movement, employers’ union and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Friday (Jan 22).
The Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and MOM said that they had jointly reviewed the need for adjustment to safe management measures at the workplace after Singapore entered phase three of its reopening last month.
“However, with the higher risk of potentially more transmissible strains as well as recent trends in Covid-19 cases in the community (including at workplaces), the tripartite partners have decided to postpone any further adjustments to workplace safe management measures,” the trio said in their joint statement.
The tripartite partners also reminded companies not to organise gatherings and social activities such as lohei or Chinese New Year meals, as these are not considered work-related events and are hence not allowed.
The statement added that with current workplace safe management measures (SMM), peak-hour travel on public transport in January has increased by 11 per cent compared with November last year.
Under current advisories, employers are required to implement flexible work hours to allow employees to report during off-peak periods if they need to work in the office, such that at least half of all employees start work in the office at or after 10am.
In Friday’s statement, the tripartite partners called for employers to implement staggered work hours more extensively.
“The public sector has contributed to this effort by enabling staff to adopt flexible workplace arrangements, such as hybrid working arrangements, flexible workplace hours and staggered start times,” they added.
The SNEF and NTUC will continue to consult closely with MOM to assess when further adjustments to safe management measures can be made, said the statement.
“While we understand the desire for more physical workplace interactions, we urge employers and employees to stay vigilant in the fight against Covid-19. The prevailing SMM requirements are vital to continue safe reopening for the economy,” it said.
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