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Advisory for employers and employees travelling to and from COVID-19 affected areas

Updated as of 3 August 2020

  1. In view of the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation with heightened risk of further importation of COVID-19 to Singapore, on 18 March 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised the public to defer all travel abroad.1 This is to reduce the risk of travellers being infected with the virus while abroad and spreading it to others when they return to Singapore.

    General precautions
  2. Employers and employees should continue to be vigilant and adopt the following precautions where relevant:
    1. Employers should defer all work-related travel plans and regularly check the Ministry of Health (MOH) website for the latest update on the COVID-19 situation.
    2. Employers should remind employees of MOH’s travel advisory to defer all travel abroad and inform employees of the employers’ HR policies on the treatment of employees who travel abroad during this period, whether work-related or non-work related.
    3. Employers should also obtain a health and travel declaration from their employees, on whether they have travelled overseas recently, or if they have any upcoming overseas travel plans.
    Summary of measures introduced thus far
  3. The following measures have been put in place to limit the potential risk of COVID-19 spread by employees (Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Visit Pass Holders) arriving in Singapore:
    1. All returning employees arriving in Singapore between 31 January 2020, 1800 hrs and 28 April 2020, 1800 hrs with travel history to Hubei province in mainland China within 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore were quarantined at home or other suitable facilities.
    2. All employees arriving from mainland China (excluding Hubei province) between 31 January 2020, 1800 hrs and 18 February 2020, 2359 hrs were required to go on a Leave of Absence (LOA) for 14 days from the day of arrival in Singapore2.
    3. All employees arriving in Singapore after the dates specified in the table below and have travel history within the prior 14 days to the specified areas and countries are required to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN):

      Had recent travel history to On SHN if arrive in Singapore
      Mainland China (excluding Hubei province) After 18 February 2020, 2359 hours
      Daegu city and Cheongdo county (South Korea) After 26 February 2020, 2359 hours
      Iran, northern Italy3 or South Korea After 4 March 2020, 2359 hours
      Italy, France, Germany and Spain After 15 March 2020, 2359 hours
      ASEAN countries4, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom After 16 March 2020, 2359 hours
      All other countries After 20 March 2020, 2359 hours
      Hubei Province, mainland China After 28 April 2020, 1800 hours
    4. In addition, employees who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness upon arrival in Singapore between 16 March and 20 March, regardless of travel history, were also required to serve the 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

    Actions for employers to bring pass holders (work pass holders and their dependants) from overseas into Singapore

    As we resume activities in phases post-Circuit Breaker, find out what are the current work pass requirements.

    All pass holders must obtain entry approvals from the relevant government agencies to enter Singapore. Upon entry, they need to serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

    However, those conveying essential services or supplies (e.g. lorry drivers, vegetable or frozen supply truckers) coming from Malaysia by land or sea crossing are exempted from the entry approval and SHN requirements.

    For existing work pass holders who are Malaysians or Malaysia permanent residents and entering Singapore by land from 17 August 2020, you can bring some of them in under the PCA scheme. While all other pass holders must continue to obtain MOM's entry approval to enter Singapore.
  4. To request for MOM’s entry approval, you must:
    1. Ensure you can fulfil the additional responsibilities to bring the pass holders in. This includes paying for their COVID-19 test and stay at the dedicated SHN facility, if applicable.

      If your work pass holders have dependants who are not issued any work passes, including Letter of Consent (LOC), they must fulfil their responsibilities towards their dependants.
    2. Request for MOM’s entry approval. Requests received by 12pm are for arrivals within the next 30 days.

      Use our entry approval calculator to plan when to submit your request.
      For new or existing Who needs to request for MOM’s entry approval
      Work pass holders, including those with LOC* Employer
      Dependant’s Pass (DP) or Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP)* holders who are not employed
      i.e. not issued a work pass, including LOC
      Local sponsor
      i.e. Employer of Employment Pass (EP) / S Pass holder
      * Those with LTVPs issued by ICA need to request for ICA’s entry approval, even if they have LOCs issued by MOM.


      If you submit the request Get outcome
      From Monday to Friday, by 12pm
      Same day
      From Monday to Friday, after 12pm
      Next working day
      On weekends or public holidays
    3. Wait for MOM’s approval before confirming flights and arranging for the pass holders to start their journey to Singapore.

    For IPA holders, you need to wait for them to complete their 14-day SHN before you can get their passes issued. For IPA holders of:

      EP, S Pass, DP or LTVP Work Permit
    If their Short-Term Visit Passes (STVPs) are expiring within 2 weeks Please request for an extension of the STVP. We will automatically extend the validities of their STVPs and IPAs by 2 weeks. Please note that no letters will be issued for this extension.


    What does quarantine mean
  5. Employees under quarantine must not leave their designated location for any reason. Employees who are served a Home Quarantine Order will be deemed to be on paid hospitalisation leave.
  6. Employers and employees may wish to refer to MOH website for more information on how employees could manage their essential needs during quarantine as well as the Quarantine Order Allowance Scheme.

    What does LOA/SHN mean
  7. Similar to LOA, SHN is a precautionary measure. From 9 April 2020, all Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders entering Singapore will be required to serve out the 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities unless otherwise indicated in MOH’s advisory. As advised by MOH, employees on LOA should remain in their residences as much as possible, minimise visitors and maintain good records of persons with whom they come into close contact. Employees on SHN must also remain in their residences or at the dedicated facilities at all times during the 14-day period and should not leave even if it is to purchase food and essentials.5 Employees should also monitor their health (i.e. for fever ≥ 38°C and respiratory symptoms such as cough or breathlessness) closely during the LOA/SHN period, seek prompt medical attention when necessary and observe good personal hygiene, e.g. not sharing a bed, limiting time spent together at common areas within the apartment, having separate meal times, and avoiding the sharing of food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items.
  8. Dorm operators, landlords and other relevant management of facilities should not evict occupants under LOA/SHN from their residence or impose unduly restrictive measures on these occupants. They may consider implementing measures to ensure that the affected occupants do not use common facilities (e.g. gyms) while under LOA/SHN. Employers and employees may wish to refer to the MOH website for more detailed advice on sharing residential spaces with people under LOA and SHN.
  9. During the LOA/SHN period, employers must ensure that employees stay away from the workplace but employers may adopt flexible work arrangements to allow the employees to work from home.6
  10. If working from home is not possible, employers are encouraged to provide additional paid leave for the LOA/SHN period over and above employees’ annual leave entitlements. Eligible employers7 who provide additional paid leave to their employees on LOA/SHN will also be able to apply for assistance under the LOA/SHN Support Programme as well as foreign worker levy waiver for the LOA/SHN period. If that is not feasible, employers can consider the following options, or a combination of the options, for the employees on LOA/SHN:
    1. Treat employees’ LOA/SHN as paid hospitalisation leave or paid outpatient sick leave;
    2. Allow employees to apply for annual leave;
    3. Allow employees to use advanced paid leave or apply for no pay leave, for employees who have used up their leave entitlements; or
    4. Other mutually agreed arrangements between the employers and employees / unions.
  11. Employers and employees have a joint duty to ensure that employees behave responsibly during the LOA/SHN period. MOM reserves the right to take action against the employer or employee, if they fail to discharge their duty.

    Medical benefits and others
  12. Employees who are certified by a medical doctor to be unwell should use their paid sick leave to stay at home. They should be socially responsible and not attend gatherings and events. If an affected employee has used up his medical benefits provided for under the employment contract and/or collective agreement due to COVID-19, employers should consider providing medical coverage as the employees concerned may face financial hardship during this time.
  13. Employers should similarly consider working from home or the options in paragraph 10 above if their employees need to stay at home for other reasons relating to the COVID-19 situation, e.g. to take care of family members who have travelled to known affected areas or take care of children who are unable to report to school or childcare.
  14. Overall, MOM urges employers to be flexible and supportive of their employees’ needs during this period. Employees are urged to cooperate with their employers. Both employers and employees are strongly encouraged to take precautionary steps according to advisories issued by MOH.
  15. For further queries, please contact:

    Ministry of Manpower
    Online enquiry
    www.mom.gov.sg

    Ministry of Health
    MOH Emergency Line 1800 333 9999
    Online enquiry
    www.moh.gov.sg

FOOTNOTE

  1. Prior to this, on 15 March 2020, MOH had advised the public to defer all travel to Hubei province (China) and to defer all non-essential travel to any country.
  2. The leave of absence does not apply retrospectively to people who returned to Singapore from mainland China before 31 Jan 2020 6pm. The earlier advisories issued on 27 January 2020 for preschools and education, healthcare and eldercare sectors would continue.
  3. Refers to the following 8 administrative regions of northern Italy: Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige / Südtirol.
  4. List of ASEAN countries besides Singapore: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.
  5. Those who require special assistance during the SHN period (for example, for food, daily necessities, financial assistance and medical treatment) can seek assistance from:
    1. People’s Association (PA) for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents (PRs) and Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP); and
    2. For work pass holders, from their employers, or MOM if their employer does not provide the necessary assistance.
  6. Employees are certified by a medical doctor to be unwell during the LOA/SHN period should be granted paid leave to rest at home.
  7. Refer to MOM’s website for the eligibility criteria for the LOA/SHN Support Programme, including the respective travel commencement cut-off dates for each affected area and the cut-off dates for commencement of SHN.