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Updated advisory on COVID-19 vaccination at the workplace

Issued on 23 October 2021
Updated on 25 April 2022

  1. We have made considerable progress in vaccinating our workforce. As of 17 April 2022, 83.6% of firms have attained 100% vaccine coverage for their workforce. 98.5% of the total workforce have been vaccinated1. The number of employees who have not yet taken any vaccine dose has also fallen to 33,500 from 52,000 in December 2021.
  2. The Workforce Vaccination Measures (WVM), which disallow unvaccinated employees from returning to the workplace, have been put in place since the beginning of this year. The WVM were necessary amidst rising daily caseloads to reduce the strain on our healthcare capacity and to lower the risks of severe illnesses among the unvaccinated. We are now in a better position to ease the WVM, and make further progress towards living with COVID-19.
  3. On 22 April 2022, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced that from 26 April 2022, Vaccination Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) will be lifted in all settings, except for:
    • Events/settings with more than 500 participants at any one time
    • Nightlife establishments that offer dancing
    • Food and beverage (F&B) establishments.
  4. In line with the easing of VDS, the WVM will also be lifted. This means that unvaccinated employees are not prohibited under the law from entering the workplace from 26 April 2022.

    Guidance to employers and employees
  5. While the Government has eased VDS and lifted WVM, operational and business continuity planning (BCP) considerations at workplaces remain relevant and the tripartite partners recognise that some employers may, at present, still have business considerations for continuing to issue vaccination-related instructions to their employees. For example, employers in the healthcare sector may be concerned about the higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and severe infections for both their employees and patients, while employers whose businesses requires frequent travelling may need vaccinated employees who will face fewer obstacles in making business trips.
  6. Taking into consideration the workplace health and safety and operational needs of their respective companies or sectors, employers may implement vaccination-differentiated requirements for their employees (such as disallowing unvaccinated employees2 from entering the workplace), as a matter of company policy and in accordance with employment law. For unvaccinated employees3 whose jobs require working on-site as determined by the employers under such a company policy, employers may:
    • Redeploy them to other suitable jobs if such jobs are available, with remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities of the alternative jobs; or
    • Place them on no-pay leave based on mutually agreeable terms; or
    • As a last resort after exploring options above, terminate their employment (with notice) in accordance with the employment contract. If the termination of employment is due to employees’ inability to be at the workplace to perform their contracted work, such termination of employment would not be considered as wrongful dismissal.
  7. In implementing such vaccination-differentiated company policies, it is critical for employers to communicate clearly the rationale and details of the company’s policies to affected employees. Employers may wish to consult with their employees and unions (where applicable), so as to avoid potential disputes. Employers should also consider the duration for which, and the specific roles or settings in which, it is necessary to maintain such policies.

    Call to action for employers
  8. The tripartite partners urge employers to make a concerted push to get their unvaccinated employees to be vaccinated as soon as possible. To facilitate this, employers may check their workforce’s vaccination rate using the Workforce Vaccination Checker(Corppass required).
  9. Employers should continue to facilitate vaccination by granting paid time-off to employees (including vaccination booster shots), and additional paid sick leave (beyond contractual or statutory requirement) in the rare event that the employee experiences a vaccine-related adverse reaction.

    Call to action for employees
  10. We need to continue our vaccination efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission, protect against severe illness from COVID-19, and avoid undue strain on our healthcare capacity. Hence, the tripartite partners would also like to urge the remaining unvaccinated employees to go for vaccination so as to protect themselves and others.
  11. For employees whose employment has been affected (by WVM or employer’s vaccination-differentiated company policies), the tripartite partners would like to urge them to approach e2i and WSG for employment facilitation assistance.

    Conclusion
  12. We have made significant progress in our fight against COVID-19. The tripartite partners urge all employers and employees to continue to work together to control the spread of COVID-19 and facilitate a safe reopening of our society and economy.
  13. For further queries, please contact:

    Ministry of Manpower

    www.mom.gov.sg

    Ministry of Health
    Online enquiry
    www.moh.gov.sg

    National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)
    ntucird@ntuc.org.sg
    www.ntuc.org.sg

    Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF)
    advisory@snef.org.sg
    www.snef.org.sg

FOOTNOTE

  1. Figure does not include self-employed persons (SEPs).
  2. Employees who refuse to show proof of vaccination to their employers may be treated as unvaccinated for the purpose of implementing vaccination-differentiated company policies at the workplace.
  3. For employees who are certified to be medically ineligible for vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme or are pregnant, employers should consider redeploying them to other suitable jobs if such jobs are available, with remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities of the alternative jobs. Employers should also consider extending no-pay leave (NPL) to pregnant employees until after the employee has delivered. Such NPL should not affect their right to maternity benefits required under any legislation, employment contract or collective agreement.