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FAQs on Leave of Absence (LOA) and Stay-Home Notice (SHN) matters

For employers and employees, find out what you can and cannot do if you're under LOA or SHN.

For more FAQs on Leave of Absence and quarantine matters, please refer to MOH’s website.

I started SHN before 18 May, and received SMS from MOM asking me to report my location and temperature. What should I do?Show

You can refer to the following step-by-step guides on SHN compliance:

I started SHN on or after 18 May, and received SMS from MOM. What should I do?Show

You must download the Homer mobile app to report to MOM 3 times per day:

  • Your location
  • Your health status

Read the user guide, it’s available in multiple languages.

Are employees being quarantined at home if they have been placed on LOA/SHN by employers?Show

Employees are not being quarantined if they have been placed on LOA/SHN. There is a difference between LOA, SHN and a Quarantine Order (QO).

Use the LOA/SHN calculator to calculate the LOA/SHN period.

Quarantine Order (QO)

A QO is a directive issued to individuals under the Infectious Diseases Act, to quarantine or isolate individuals who are, or suspected to be, carriers or contacts of an infectious disease. It has the aim of limiting spread of virus in the community. QO has legal force with severe penalties for non-compliance, and is far more stringent than LOA.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

LOA is a precautionary measure. Persons placed on LOA are urged to be socially responsible and comply, to prevent possible transmissions of infections. 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 LOA may leave their residences for daily necessities or to attend important matters, but they must minimise time spent in public spaces and contact with others. Employees should also monitor their health (i.e. for fever ≥ 38 °C and respiratory symptoms such as cough or breathlessness) closely during the LOA period, seek prompt medical attention when necessary and observe good personal hygiene.

Employers are reminded that all returning employees with recent travel history to mainland China (outside Hubei) within the last 14 days, and arrived in Singapore on or after 31 Jan 2020 6pm, but before 18 February 2020, 2359 hrs, will be placed on LOA. This includes those who returned directly from mainland China, and those who entered from other countries.

Employers and employees have a joint duty to ensure that employees behave responsibly during the LOA period. MOM will not hesitate to revoke the work passes and withdraw work pass privileges against errant employers or employees.

Stay-Home Notice (SHN)

All returning residents (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) and returning long-term pass holders (work passes, Dependant’s Pass, and Long Term Visit Pass) who fulfil the criteria below will be placed on Stay-Home Notice (SHN):

Had recent travel history to On SHN if arrive in Singapore
All countries After 20 March 2020, 2359 hrs
All countries, including Hubei Province, mainland China After 28 April 2020, 1800 hrs

All travellers who have spent the last 14 consecutive days in these countries / regions – Australia (excluding Victoria state), Brunei Darussalam, Macao, Mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam – will no longer have to serve SHN in dedicated SHN facilities. All other travellers entering Singapore will continue to serve their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities, for now. Persons placed on SHN will be required to undergo a test before the end of their SHN. Refer to the latest measures for inbound travellers for more info.

From 4 March 2020, 2359 hrs, employees entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint. They may carry on with their journey immediately after undergoing the test. However, pending the results, which may take between three and six hours, the returning employees are advised to minimise contact with others as a precautionary measure. Individuals will be contacted on their swab test results and those with positive results will be conveyed to the hospital in a dedicated ambulance.

Work pass holders (including dependants) who refuse testing may have their immigration facilities and work pass privileges revoked or the validity shortened. Singapore Permanent Residents and long-term pass holders who refuse testing may have immigration facilities revoked or curtailed. All travellers, including Singapore citizens, who do not comply with the testing or who cannot be contacted subsequently may face penalties and can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Under the SHN, returnees will have to remain in their place of residence / dedicated SHN facility at all times during the 14-day period. This is stricter than the previous LOA regime, which had allowed returnees to leave their homes briefly, for example, to buy their meals or household and other supplies.

Those placed on SHN should monitor their health closely, i.e. twice daily for fever (i.e. ≥ 38°C) and respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathlessness. They should minimise contact with others and avoid having visitors (e.g. other employees) to their residence. Employees under SHN should maintain a record of persons they come into close contact with during this period.

Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Visit Pass holders who require special assistance (e.g. for medical attention, food and daily necessities) during the SHN period will be assisted by the People’s Association. Work pass holders should seek assistance from their employers.

Employees who flout the SHN may face penalties and can be prosecuted under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act. Foreign workers may have their work passes revoked and be repatriated. Employers too may have their work pass privileges withdrawn. Permanent Residents, Long Term Visit Pass and Dependant’s Pass holders may have their Re-Entry Permit, Long-Term Visit Pass or Dependant’s Pass revoked or the validity shortened.

Will Malaysian residents, Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore from Malaysia via land and sea crossings be placed on Stay-Home Notice (SHN)?Show

With immediate effect, returning Singapore residents (Singapore citizens, permanent residents) and long-term pass holders will be issued a 14-day SHN upon entry into Singapore. All short-term visitors will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

All new and existing work pass holders (including dependants) planning to enter Singapore from Malaysia will be required to obtain MOM’s approval before they commence their journey. This is applicable regardless of the mode of travel into Singapore.

The transport of all types of goods between Malaysia and Singapore will be facilitated during the duration of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order. As such, those conveying essential services, or supplies (e.g. lorry drivers, vegetable supply truckers, frozen supply truckers) via land and sea crossings will be exempted from MOM’s entry approval and SHN requirements.

If an employee holding a Chinese / South Korea / Italian / Iranian passport returns to Singapore, will he/she be placed on Stay-Home Notice (SHN)?Show

If the returning employee is a long-term pass holder who had travelled to the affected region(s), he/she will be placed on SHN.

When do employers start counting the first day for employees who need to go on LOA/SHN?Show

Use the LOA/SHN calculator to calculate the LOA/SHN period.

To calculate your SHN period, add 14 days after your arrival date in Singapore.

If you return to Singapore on 1 March 2020, your SHN starts on 1 March 2020 and will end after 15 March 2020, 12pm.

Note: SHN will always end +14 days after arrival date, at 12pm, regardless of what time they entered Singapore.

What should employees do if they are placed on LOA/SHN? Can they run errands since LOA/SHN is not a Quarantine Order?Show

Use the LOA/SHN calculator to calculate the LOA/SHN period.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

During the LOA period, employees may leave the place of residence to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters, but they should return to the place of residence as quickly as possible. Employers must also ensure that employees stay away from the workplace.

Employers should advise employees to stay at home and avoid social contact. Employees should avoid crowded places and refrain from attending social or public gatherings. They should monitor their health closely, and seek medical attention immediately if they develop any fever or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat).

Employers and employees have a joint duty to ensure that employees behave responsibly during the LOA period, and not return to work. MOM will not hesitate to revoke the work passes and withdraw work pass privileges against errant employers or employees.

Stay-Home Notice (SHN)

Under the SHN, returnees will have to remain in their place of residence / dedicated SHN facility at all times during the 14-day period. This is stricter than the previous LOA regime, which had allowed returnees to leave their homes briefly, for example for their meals or to buy household supplies.

Those placed on SHN should monitor their health closely, i.e. twice daily for fever (i.e. ≥ 38°C) and respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathlessness. They should minimise contact with others and avoid having visitors (e.g. other employees) to their residence. Employees under SHN should maintain a record of persons they come into close contact with during this period.

Work pass holders on SHN can make their own arrangements to procure daily necessities, such as meals and daily essentials. This could include requesting their house or dormitory mates to help procure these for them or ordering home delivery services. Employers will be responsible for ensuring the well-being of their work pass holders on SHN and will be expected to render any support they require. Work pass holders who face difficulties and contact MOM for assistance.

What should employees do if they need to leave Singapore due to an emergency while in the midst of serving the SHN? Are they required to complete the SHN before returning?Show

Employees on SHN who have critical need to leave Singapore can contact their assigned point of contact (see below) for the SHN period who will advise them on the requirements. Approval must be sought from point of contact, and the appropriate documentation must be submitted as a proof (e.g. death certificate).

  • Singapore citizens, PRs and long-term pass holders can contact the People’s Association at 6344 8222.
  • Foreign employees with a work pass should inform their employers or their Singapore employment agency. If the employer or Singapore employment agency fails to provide assistance, please use go.gov.sg/shn-self-help.

The employee should however note that they will be subjected to the prevailing restrictions imposed by their destination country. For the subsequent return, the employee will be subjected to Singapore’s prevailing requirements for SHN and pre-entry approval, if applicable.

For employers who need to deliver meals and daily essentials to work pass holders on SHN, are they required to wear masks or other protective equipment for self-protection?Show

It is mandatory for all persons to wear a mask when leaving their homes.

Is the employer required to pay for food for their work pass holders on SHN?Show

The employer has a responsibility to ensure that the returning work pass holder complies with the SHN requirements, one of which is not to leave their residences. As such, the employer should arrange to provide them with food, including bearing the cost of it during the SHN period.

Can employers ask employees to use their annual leave for the LOA/SHN period?Show

Employers may adopt flexible work arrangements to allow employees on LOA/SHN to work from home.

If working from home is not possible, employers are encouraged to provide additional paid leave on top of employees’ annual leave entitlements for the LOA/SHN, especially if the travel was work-related. Eligible employers who provide additional paid leave to their employees on LOA/SHN or treated the period of LOA/SHN as hospitalisation leave 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:

  • Treat employees’ LOA/SHN as paid hospitalisation leave or paid outpatient sick leave;
  • Allow employees to apply for annual leave;
  • Allow employees to use advanced paid leave or apply for no pay leave, for employees who have used up their leave entitlements; or
  • Other mutually agreed arrangements between the employers and employees / unions.

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.

Should employers send employees to the doctor to get tested at the end of the 14-day LOA/SHN period so that they can be cleared to come back to work?Show

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 and doctors / clinics will not issue any letters or memos to certify a person to be free from COVID-19 infection.

Employees may have family members / housemates who are placed on LOA/SHN. What should employers do to safeguard the other employees who may have been in contact with that employee? Should that employee also be granted LOA/SHN?Show

The employee may continue living with family members / housemates placed on LOA/SHN. There is no need for the employee to be placed on LOA/SHN. However, the employer can advise the employee to reduce interaction and minimise contact with persons placed on LOA/SHN. The following precautionary measures can be adopted:

  • Avoid sharing same toilet with persons under SHN where possible. If this is not possible, toilet must be cleaned after each use by the person under SHN. Users may also wish to allow some time to pass between toilet usage, in order to allow any remaining water droplets after showers to settle to the ground. Sharing the same roll of toilet paper is safe as long as the toilet roll is not stained, soiled or wet.
  • Do not share towels.
  • Avoid having visitors to the residence.
  • Avoid sharing food, crockery, utensils and other personal hygiene items.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene at all times. This includes flushing the toilet after use and regular hand washing with soap and water (including before and after handling food or eating, and after going to the toilet).
  • Ensure the home is clean and well-ventilated and ensure that frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, taps, handles, countertops are wiped down with disinfectant regularly.

If there are vulnerable persons in the households, e.g. seniors aged 60 and above, persons with underlying health conditions, the employee under SHN should be advised to avoid interacting with the vulnerable persons and consider alternative accommodation if these interactions cannot be avoided.

If any member of the household becomes unwell, medical attention should be sought at the nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) immediately. Inform the doctor hat the household member is living with the employee who has recently returned overseas and is on SHN.

If employers choose to segregate their foreign workers on LOA/SHN, are they required to update Online Foreign Worker's Address System (OFWAS)?Show

MOH has advised that it is not necessary to segregate or relocate persons placed under LOA/SHN. However, if employers choose to do so voluntarily, they may update Online Foreign Worker’s Address System (OFWAS) with the affected work permit’s holders new address, (it can include commercial premises such as hotels or serviced apartments), or the Employment Pass Online (EPOL) for EP / S Pass holders.

Employers must update OFWAS / EPOL should there be further changes to the addresses.

If employers encounter technical difficulty in doing so, you can submit enquiry online.

If a foreign worker is under Quarantine Order (QO), there is no need to update OFWAS.

If employers choose to segregate foreign workers, are they required to pay for alternative accommodation?Show

Yes, employers are required to pay for the alternative accommodation.

My employee is a COVID-19 patient who was issued with a Discharge Memo from MOH, which gave them a 7-day Leave of Absence to rest and recover in their place of residence or dormitory upon their discharge. How should I treat my employee's Leave of Absence period?Show

While your employee is no longer infectious, the Leave of Absence is given to your employee to remain at home (or place of residence like dormitories) for a further 7 days to rest and recover.

Employers should treat such Leave of Absence required in the Discharge Memo as part of their paid outpatient sick leave under the Employment Act.

Alternatively, if you wish to provide more support for your employees, you can also treat the 7-day Leave of Absence as part of their paid hospitalisation leave entitlements.

If your employee has insufficient paid outpatient sick or hospitalisation leave in the future, as an employer, you are encouraged to be flexible and compassionate and grant additional paid sick leave.

More on FAQs on COVID-19