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FAQs on COVID-19 vaccinations at the workplace

Find out about work and leave arrangements prior to reporting to the workplace.

For employers

Vaccination-related arrangements at the workplace

The Government has announced that Vaccination-Differentiated SMMs (VDS) has been lifted except from three settings. Are employees working in these three settings required to be vaccinated as well?Show

MTF has announced that from 26 April 2022, VDS has been lifted in all settings except:

  • Events with more than 500 participants at any one time
  • Nightlife establishments where dancing among patrons is one of the intended activities
  • Food and beverage (F&B) establishments, including restaurants, coffee shops and hawker centres.

As an employer, you may take into consideration the workplace health, safety and operational needs (e.g. higher risk of transmission due to large crowds and unmasked activities) of your business, and assess if you require your employees working onsite in these three settings to be vaccinated as a matter of company policy.

Can I have different vaccination requirements for different job roles within the same business?Show

Yes, you can have different vaccination requirements for different job roles as a matter of company policy. You can assess each job role by taking into consideration the relevant workplace health, safety and operational needs.

Can I specify vaccination requirements when hiring new employees?Show

Yes. You can specify vaccination requirements when hiring new employees as a matter of company policy by taking into consideration the relevant workplace health, safety and operational needs of the position.

Can I specify vaccination requirements for visitors to my workplace?Show

Yes. You can specify vaccination requirements for visitors to your workplace as a matter of company policy by taking into consideration the relevant workplace health, safety and operational needs. For example, visits that are transient in nature, with visitors including self-employed persons (e.g. food delivery riders) and persons who enter the workplace to provide services (e.g. independent contractors, vendors).

Regardless of the above, visitors will still have to comply with Vaccination Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) for the community.


Vaccination status

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

You may request for employees to show their vaccination status through their TraceTogether 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 these employees and prospective employees as unvaccinated for the purposes of accessing the workplace if your company implements vaccination differentiated policies.

My foreign employee was declared medically ineligible for vaccination in his home country. Can I accept that as proof of him being medically ineligible?Show

These employees will need to be certified medically ineligible for the vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme by a registered doctor in Singapore.

Refer to go.gov.sg/vdsmminfo for a template of the doctor’s memo.

Can my unvaccinated employees insist to work from home when I have requested for them to return to the workplace?Show

Employers have the rights to decide whether certain jobs may be performed from home, taking into consideration their operational or business needs.

You may discuss and mutually agree with your employees on the job requirements and remuneration if working arrangements need to be adjusted. If there is no agreement after considering options such as redeployment and no-pay leave, either party may choose to end the contract by serving the notice period. Such termination of employment would not be considered as wrongful dismissal.

What can I do if my employees made a false declaration of their vaccination status?Show

You may wish to refer to the company’s disciplinary frameworks for such breaches of company policy.


Testing prior to reporting to the workplace

Are my vaccinated or medically ineligible employees required to undergo regular testing before they report to the workplace?Show

No, there are no prevailing regulations for the testing of vaccinated and medically ineligible employees. If you would like to adopt a company policy to regularly test these employees who return to the workplace, you should bear the costs of such tests.


Leave matters

My employees have asked for time off to accompany their children for their vaccination. Can I request for them to take childcare leave instead?Show

Let us all do our part to make Singapore more resilient to COVID-19 transmission. Vaccinating children helps in their safety and health, and your employees can have greater peace of mind.

You should thus support your employees when they get their children vaccinated.

You are strongly encouraged to give time off to your employees for their children’s vaccination, including for any mandatory observation period post vaccination if the vaccinations are done during working hours. For employees who require a longer period away from work, they may take childcare leave or annual leave.

Can I request my employees to apply for annual leave or to use their weekends or off days to take the vaccination shots (including vaccination booster shots)?Show

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

While vaccination or vaccination booster 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.

Can I implement vaccination-differentiated leave policies for my employees?Show

Yes. For example, if a medically eligible but unvaccinated employee has to serve longer Stay-Home Notice (SHN) from traveling for work purposes compared to a vaccinated employee, you may require that the additional SHN days be taken from the employee’s existing leave entitlements (as a matter of company policy). If the leave entitlements have been exhausted, you may require such an employee to go on no-pay leave.


Medical benefits

Yes. You may exclude medically eligible but unvaccinated employees from medical benefits associated with COVID-19 (e.g. insurance coverage) as a matter of company policy.

However, you cannot exclude such employees from medical benefits required under any legislation (unless they are on no-pay leave). You will also need to seek your employees’ or unions’ consent if you are varying contractual or collective agreement.


COVID-19 related costs

You can require medically eligible but unvaccinated employees (i.e. excluding employees who are medically ineligible for the vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme) to bear additional costs. These costs should be related to COVID-19 measures and incurred over and above those for vaccinated employees (e.g. costs of Stay-Home Notice (SHN) accommodation). These costs can be recovered either through salary deductions* or by requiring these employees to pay the relevant service provider directly.

*You should refer to Section 27(1)(i) of the Employment Act when making any salary deductions for recovering COVID-19 related costs.


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 on 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 the case will be assessed accordingly.

If my employee contracts COVID-19 at the workplace, can claims be made under Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)?Show

Yes, employees will be covered under WICA if they have contracted COVID-19 due to work.


Termination

I terminated the employment of my worker because he was unable to comply with the Workforce Vaccination Measures. How should I treat the notice period?Show

If you have to contractually terminate your employee’s employment as a last resort, you will need to provide the necessary notice required under the contract or the Employment Act.

During the notice period, the employer may allow employees to continue working subject to the prevailing Safe Management Measures.

For employees who are eligible for re-employment under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, are employers required to offer re-employment or Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) to those who are medically eligible but unvaccinated?Show

The employer is deemed to have fulfilled obligations under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, if they:

  • Have considered the available re-employment options within the organisation, and
  • Made suitable job offers to their retiring employees.

For employers who have implemented vaccination-differentiated requirements for job roles that require working on-site as a matter of company policy, no Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) is required if a medically eligible but unvaccinated employee does not take up such a job offer because he is unable to fulfil the job requirements.


For employees

Can my employer require me to disclose my vaccination status even if I have sensitive health conditions that I do not wish to share?Show

If you are medically exempted from taking the vaccination, you can show your employer a certified doctor’s memo indicating that you are medically ineligible for the vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme. You can also prove your exempted status via the TraceTogether app.

Employers should accept the doctor’s memo or TraceTogether app status as proof of employees being medically ineligible.

I was vaccinated overseas. Will I be considered as fully vaccinated?Show

Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents or Long-Term Pass holders who have been fully vaccinated overseas with any vaccines approved under the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing (WHO EUL) can have their vaccination records updated in the National Immunisation Registry. Refer to MOH website for more information on how to update your vaccination record.

If the COVID-19 vaccine that you have taken is under the list of vaccines accepted by MOH, you will be considered as fully vaccinated.

I am medically eligible but unvaccinated, and my employment contract ended because I was unable to perform my contracted work under my employer’s vaccinated-differentiated company policy. Who can I reach out to when looking for a new job?Show

You may approach WSG and e2i for help with employment facilitation.