1. Will all my staff be allowed to return to office once I resume operations? Do we still need to have split teaming?
Employers must put in place safe management measures before resuming workplace activities, in order to provide a safe working environment and prevent transmission at the workplace.
Employers should ensure that employees whose functions can be done remotely (e.g. by telecommuting) continue to do so. All employers and employees must also adhere to the Safe Management Measures at all times.
If telecommuting is not possible, employers should split their employees into teams. There should be no cross-deployment/interaction between employees in different teams or worksites, even outside of work.
Strict checks will be conducted, and businesses that do not provide a safe workplace for workers will be asked to close their workplace.
2. Do my staff need to carry any documentation to verify that they can return to office?
No. Staff who are returning to their workplaces are not required to carry documentation.
3. Are companies which are resuming operations required to ensure that their employees work from home?
The default mode of working for all companies (including for companies resuming operations in Phases One and Two) should be telecommuting. This is to reduce physical interactions in the workplace in order to minimise spread of COVID-19. Please refer to para 4(a) of MOH’s press release for more details.
To this end, all employers should provide the facilities necessary and have employees work from home, as far as reasonably practicable. All employees who have been working from home so far should continue to do so, even as operations in their companies resume. Employees whose roles require them to work on-site (e.g. employees cooking or providing dine-in services at F&B outlets) may do so.
MOM’s Safe Management Measures requirements at the workplace, which include ensuring that employees telecommute where possible, can be found here. There is also a list of resources such as technology solutions and grants available to assist companies here.
Checks will be conducted. Businesses whose employers do not provide a safe workplace, ensure employees work from home where possible, or whose workers do not adhere to safe management measures, may have to close their workplaces.
4. What should I do if my employees are unwilling to work from home because their home is not conducive for work?
The overarching objective of these regulations is to reduce physical interactions in order to prevent spread of COVID-19. Employers are required to provide the facilities necessary and direct every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable.
If employees are genuinely unable to work from home, they can be allowed to continue working in the workplace, subject to the implementation of all other Safe Management measures such as staggered working hours and physical safe distancing measures. Employers should be prepared to demonstrate the reasons for the employee’s being unable to work from home.
5. Under what circumstances may I return to my workplace?
Employers are permitted to allow employees to go to the office if their job functions cannot be performed remotely or where demonstrably necessary (e.g. to operate a system or equipment that cannot be accessed from home, or to attend physical meetings that cannot be avoided).
6. What should I take note of if I am really unable to telecommute and need to be in the office?
You will need to adhere to Safe Management Measures while working in the office. These include undergoing temperature screenings and declarations, wearing masks at all times, practising good personal hygiene and keeping at least one metre distance from others. If you feel unwell, you must not go to work.
Functions that can be done through email, telephone or videoconferencing should be conducted remotely. Employers should review work processes, provide the necessary IT equipment to employees and adopt solutions that enable remote working and online collaboration.