Skip to main content

Advisory for employers and employees travelling to and from affected areas in response to increase in cases of COVID-19

Updated as of 23 March 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 15 March 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised the public to defer all travel abroad. 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. From 31 January 2020, MOM will reject all new work pass applications for foreign workers from mainland China until further notice. Renewal applications for existing work pass holders will not be affected.
    2. All returning employees with Hubei travel history within 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore will be quarantined at home or other suitable facilities.
    3. 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 Singapore1.
    4. 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 Italy2 or South Korea After 4 March 2020, 2359 hours
      Italy, France, Germany and Spain After 15 March 2020, 2359 hours
      ASEAN countries3, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom After 16 March 2020, 2359 hours
      All other countries After 20 March 2020, 2359 hours
    5. In addition, employees who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness upon arrival4, regardless of travel history, will be required to remain in their place of residence at all times for a 14-day period under the Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

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

    With immediate effect, employers of pass holders coming from Malaysia (all modes of travel) must also obtain MOM’s entry approval before the pass holders can enter Singapore. Upon entry, these pass holders must serve the 14-day SHN.

    However, those who provide 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.
  4. To reduce the risk of importing the COVID-19 virus, we are restricting the entry of pass holders into Singapore.

    All employers are strongly urged to defer bringing pass holders into Singapore. To facilitate this, we will automatically extend the validities of all in-principle approvals (IPAs) by 2 months. You can check the new validities using:
    • WP Online for Work Permit holders.
    • EP Online for Employment Pass, S Pass holders and their dependants.

    We ask for your understanding and cooperation in doing your part to safeguard the interest of Singapore’s public health and the health of your other employees.

    If you are unable to defer the pass holders’ entry, you may proceed with the following. However, please note that chances of getting an entry approval are very slim:
    1. Ensure you can fulfil the additional responsibilities to bring your work pass holders in. If they have dependants who are not issued any work passes, including Letter of Consent (LOC), they must also fulfil their responsibilities towards their dependants.
    2. Request for MOM’s entry approval before the pass holders can enter Singapore.

      For new or existing Who needs to request for MOM’s entry approval Who is responsible to ensure SHN is observed
      Work pass holders, including those with LOC* Employer Employer and work pass holder
      DP or LTVP* holders who are not employed
      i.e. not issued a work pass, including LOC
      Local sponsor
      i.e. employer of EP / S Pass holder
      EP / S Pass holder and DP / LTVP holder
      * From 29 March 2020, 2359 hours, those with LTVPs issued by ICA need to request for ICA’s entry approval, even if they have LOCs issued by MOM.

      Applications open daily from 12:01pm and close at 12pm the next day.

      Requests received during this period are for arrivals within 10 days after the application closes (e.g. for arrivals in Singapore from 17 Mar 2020 to 26 Mar 2020, you can submit the request from 15 Mar 2020, 12:01pm to 16 Mar 2020, 12pm).

      Use our entry approval calculator to plan when to submit your request.

      Applications submitted:
      • By 12pm: Will receive the outcome on the same day.
      • After 12pm: Will receive the outcome the next day.
    3. Wait for MOM's approval before arranging for the pass holders to enter Singapore.

    Note: For pass holders with Hubei-issued passports or recent travel history to Hubei, please defer their entry to Singapore as far as possible.

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

      Employment Pass, S Pass, Dependant’s Pass or Long Term Visit Pass 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 STVP by 2 weeks and email employers the extension letters.
    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 measures. As advised by MOH, employees on LOA/SHN 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 at all times during the 14-day period and must not leave the residence 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. MOH has advised that it is not necessary to segregate persons placed under LOA/SHN from others sharing the same room/apartment, though contact should be minimised, 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. 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.

    Wearing of masks
  12. In general, employees who are not having any symptoms at all and are well are not required to wear a mask.
  13. Employees who are not well or have respiratory symptoms should wear a mask so that they do not spread any infection to others and consult a doctor as soon as possible. Employees who are certified by a medical doctor to be unwell should also use their paid sick leave to stay at home. They should practise social responsibility by not attending gatherings and events.
  14. In the case of the COVID-19, MOH has advised that infection is spread through droplets. Wearing a mask will protect other people when someone with respiratory symptoms coughs or sneezes, as the mask would trap those droplets and prevent those droplets from spreading and disseminating. As such, a surgical mask is sufficient for this case and fulfils the important function of preventing a spread if worn properly. The mask should be changed if it gets soiled or stained.

    Medical benefits and others
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Post Home Quarantine, LOA or SHN. Employees who have completed 14 days of quarantine, LOA or SHN, and who remain well, can return to work. It is not necessary for them to undergo additional tests to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus. All doctors / clinics will not issue any letters or memos to certify a person to be free from COVID-19 infection.
  18. 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.
  19. 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

  20. FOOTNOTE

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. List of ASEAN countries besides Singapore: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.
    4. These employees will also be required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint, regardless of the travel history.
    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.

    Related questions