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FAQs on COVID-19 vaccinations at the workplace

Find out about the work and leave arrangements to implement the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime at the workplace.

For employers

Implementation / timeline

My sector was not identified to adopt the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime. Do I need to implement the VoRT regime for my employees?Show

While it is optional, the tripartite partners urge all employers to consider adopting the VoRT regime to protect employees and make workplaces more resilient.

When does the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime take effect? Can my company implement the Advisory before 1 October 2021?Show

If your company intends to implement the VoRT regime voluntarily, you should only do so on or after 1 October 2021. This is to allow sufficient time for your employees to be vaccinated i.e. taking into consideration the time required between doses and for the vaccine to take effect before being considered fully vaccinated.

Employers should also take steps to engage employees early on any vaccination-differentiated workplace measures.

Can I implement the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime only for employees in higher risk employment settings in my company?Show

Companies which adopt VoRT voluntarily may choose to implement the VoRT regime for all or selected employees (e.g. only those in higher risk employment settings) depending on the needs or circumstances of your operations. You will need to clearly explain the company policy to your employees.

Can I require my company’s contractors, vendors and temporary workers who access my work sites to undergo the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime?Show

Yes, you may engage the external vendors or contractors who have access to your workplace to work out a similar arrangement to require VoRT as part of their company policy.

Vaccination status

Can I request for my employees’ vaccination status even if I have not implemented the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime? Show

Yes, you may request for your employees’ vaccination status for business purposes e.g. business continuity planning.

How do I check the vaccination status (i.e. fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, unvaccinated) of my employees? Show

You may request for employees to show their vaccination status through their Trace Together app and token, HealthHub app or the original physical vaccination card.

My employee refuses to disclose his vaccination status. What can I do?Show

You may treat employees and prospective employees who choose not to disclose their vaccination status as unvaccinated for the purposes of implementing vaccination-differentiated workplace measures and the bearing of costs.

My company has adopted the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime. What if my employees decline to be vaccinated?Show

Unvaccinated employees should undergo regular testing in lieu of vaccination. This would help pick up possible infections so that they can be treated early and mitigate the risk of transmission to their colleagues and the public.

While you may adopt differentiated workplace measures for vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, you should not terminate or threaten to terminate the service of your unvaccinated employees on the basis of their vaccination status alone. You should also not place your unvaccinated employees on no-pay leave for an extended duration without their mutual consent in writing.

Can I impose a vaccination requirement upfront at the point of recruitment or in advertisements for new hires?Show

You may do so only if all existing employees in the same role are fully vaccinated from 1 October 2021.

Regular testing

How should I conduct the testing for my employees under the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime? Show

If your company is in a sector identified for mandatory VoRT, you should implement Employer Supervised Self-Swab (ESSS). Swab supervision can be done either on-site at the workplace or virtually using tools such as video conferencing, under the supervision of a trained employee (“supervisor”). The appointed swab supervisors will need to undergo training provided by HMI institute and upload the test results on the Swab Registration System (SRS) . You may engage your sector agency for more information on implementing ESSS.

Otherwise, your company may decide on appropriate testing arrangements and frequencies that are suited to your company’s operational needs taking reference from MOH’s guidelines on ESSS.

Does testing need to be conducted at the worksite? Can my employees conduct it remotely from home? Show

Testing can be done at the workplace or remotely. Employers should advise employees on how to report test results.

Can I require for my employees to undergo more testing than the Government’s recommendation? Show

You do not need to test your employees more frequently than what is recommended by MOH for the selected sectors.

If my unvaccinated employees are on leave (e.g. maternity leave or no-pay leave), will they still be required to undergo the regular testing? Show

While regular testing is encouraged, employers may excuse employees who are on leave from the testing regime.

Regular testing for these employees should resume before their return to work to ensure that they have not contracted COVID-19 during their time away from work.

Vaccination-differentiated workplace measures

Should I segregate employees who are vaccinated from those who are not?Show

You should adhere to the Safe Management Measures for all employees.

Employers should not implement any unreasonable differentiated measures to further segregate vaccinated employees from unvaccinated employees.

Leave matters

Can I request my employees to apply for annual leave to take the vaccination?Show

You should facilitate all your medically eligible employees to get vaccinated, such as granting paid time-off to employees for their vaccination, including any mandatory observation period post vaccination if the vaccinations are done during working hours.

While vaccinations do not cause problems for the vast majority, some individuals may experience common side effects, similar to other vaccines (such as pain or swelling at injection site, fever, tiredness). Most side effects will resolve within 3 days. In such instances, you should consider granting additional time-off for employees to rest.

Employees who suffer severe side effects from vaccination should seek medical attention and apply for sick leave. For employees who do not have sufficient sick leave, do exercise compassion and flexibility.

My employees do not have sufficient hospitalisation leave to cover their hospitalisation for COVID-19 or Quarantine Order (QO). What should I do? Show

You are encouraged to exercise compassion and flexibility in supporting the needs of your employees and provide additional hospitalisation leave for employees who are fully vaccinated or medically ineligible to receive the mRNA vaccines.

You may adopt a differentiated leave policy for unvaccinated employees such as asking them to use their existing leave entitlements, or no-pay leave if their leave is exhausted.

Side-effects from vaccine / infected with COVID-19

In very rare instances, employees may experience serious side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, such as a severe allergic reaction. The Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme for COVID-19 Vaccination (VIFAP) provides a one-time goodwill financial assistance to persons who experience serious side effects that are assessed to be related to COVID-19 vaccines administered in Singapore. Refer to MOH website for details to qualify for VIFAP.

Any claim under WICA for serious side effects due to COVID-19 vaccination will be assessed on a case by case basis. If such a claim does arise, the employer is required to file an incident report and MOM will assess the case accordingly.

My employee tested positive for COVID-19 and has been hospitalised. What leave arrangements should I use to cover this period? Show

Employees who tested positive for COVID-19 and are hospitalised will be entitled to paid sick leave for the period that they are hospitalised, up to the contractual limits which must not be less favourable than what is stated in the Employment Act.

For employees

Can my employer make it mandatory for me to take the COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter my workplace?Show

No, your employer cannot require you to be vaccinated to enter your workplace. If your employer adopted the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime, you will need to undergo regular testing if you choose not to be vaccinated. This would ensure the safety and health of all employees and minimise the risk of outbreaks.

Can my employer require me to produce a negative test result each time before I enter my workplace?Show

As part of company policy, your employer may require you to be tested regularly if you are unvaccinated. This would ensure the safety and health of all employees and minimise the risk of outbreaks.

Your employer should take reference from MOH’s recommendation on the testing frequency for selected sectors and not test you more than the recommended frequencies.

Can I choose to work from home if I am unvaccinated?Show

More employees will gradually return to work as we move towards a resilient Singapore living with COVID-19. To reduce disruptions to businesses, employers have the right to require employees to return to the office for work. You are also required to comply with the vaccination-differentiated workplace measures when returning to the workplace.

You will still be subjected to the Vaccinate or Regular Test (VoRT) regime if you work from home for at least some of the time.

I am pregnant and not vaccinated yet. I am worried about contracting COVID-19. Can my employer insist that I return to the workplace?Show

You should discuss such concerns with your employer. Employers are encouraged to be compassionate and flexible in accommodating requests from pregnant employees, such as allowing them to continue working from home or redeploying them to a job with lower risk of COVID-19 exposure, where possible.

You may approach MOM for assistance if you are unable to reach mutual agreement with your employer on the working arrangements.

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