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FAQs on Safe Management Measures at the workplace after Circuit Breaker period

Find out more about the Safe Management Measures, how to implement at your workplace, and ensure your employees and visitors are protected.

General info on Safe Management Measures

Who does the requirements for Safe Management Measures apply to?Show

All businesses allowed to operate are required to implement Safe Management Measures.

For companies resuming operations after the circuit breaker period, all Safe Management Measures should be in place before operations can resume at the workplace.

Gatherings of up to 5 people are allowed in public spaces in Phase 2, but safe distancing measures continue to be required at meeting rooms, work areas and workstations within the workplace. Why is there a difference in the rules for workplaces?Show

The requirement for a clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between all individuals at meeting rooms, work areas, and workstations will help to protect employees, safeguard business continuity, and guard against community transmission.

This is so as there is likely to be prolonged and repeated contact between multiple personnel within these areas at the workplace, as compared to in public places, which may increase transmission risk.

Do I have to apply to resume operations at my company's workplace?Show

The Multi-Ministry Task Force has announced that selected activities and services will be allowed to gradually resume operations from 12 May 2020. Companies that fall under the list of activities and services do not need to apply before resuming operations. Please go to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg for more details.

As we bring down the number of new COVID-19 cases, we will progressively reopen businesses. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will announce more details in due course. Employees who are able to work from home should still continue to do so.

Is it possible for my business to resume operations earlier if I have implemented all Safe Management Measures at my workplace?Show

To prevent the re-emergence of community cases, we will need to open up the economy gradually, and not all at once. In general, sectors that allow us to trade with the world and access critical supplies will start first. Sectors that attract high traffic and social interactions will have to wait, and put in place additional Safe Management Measures before restarting progressively.

You can resume business operations only if your company falls under MTI’s list of activities and services that are allowed to resume operations, and your company has implemented all required Safe Management Measures at your workplace.

Are the requirements on Safe Management Measures mandatory, and what enforcement actions will MOM take against businesses that do not implement Safe Management Measures?Show

MOM and sector agencies will take calibrated enforcement actions based on the areas of non-compliance found. For workplaces that severely lack Safe Management Measures, we will direct employers to stop operations at the workplace. Employers will have to take steps to ensure that Safe Management Measures are in place before operations can resume.

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, failure to comply with Safe Management Measures is punishable with a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both. Repeated non-compliance is punishable with a fine up to $20,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both.

Who is empowered to enforce the requirements and how can I verify the identity of enforcement officers inspecting my workplace?Show

Enforcement action may be taken by any of the following persons under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act:

  • A police officer
  • A Health Officer appointed under section 4(1)(a) or (b) of the Infectious Diseases Act
  • A public officer
  • An officer of a statutory body
  • An auxiliary police officer
  • An employee of a prescribed institution under the Infectious Diseases Act

You can verify the identity of enforcement officers via their authority cards or their public service identification cards.

Where can I find more guidance on implementing Safe Management Measures in the workplace?Show

You can refer to Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities for an overview of the requirements that must be fulfilled prior to resuming business activities at your workplace.

Unionised companies are also encouraged to engage their unions on such arrangements.

Is it compulsory to fill in and maintain the checklist provided in Annex B?Show

Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities sets out the requirements needed for employers to resume operations.

Employers are not required to fill out the checklist, but must ensure that the documents listed in the checklist (or equivalent) are available upon request by officials.

When inspected by any government agency, businesses must be prepared to show that they have fulfilled the requirements.

Are there specific Safe Management Measures for each sector (e.g. construction, F&B, retail)?Show

The requirements on Safe Management Measures at the workplace released by MOM is for general workplace settings. For specific workplace settings or sector requirements, please refer to guidelines issued by the respective sector agencies.

We have received two advisories, one from MOM and another from the sector agency. Which one do we follow?Show

The advisory on Safe Management Measures and the accompanying checklist issued by MOM are for general workplaces settings.

Where there may be sector-specific considerations, companies should also refer to the sector-specific advisories issued, over and above MOM’s advisory.

My employees do not have a specific workplace as they are deployed to client’s site to provide goods and services. How can I implement Safe Management Measures?Show

All employers must implement Safe Management Measures at their workplaces for all employees and contractors.

Companies that have employees deployed to other sites should also ensure that their employees comply with the Safe Management Measures put in place at these sites. In fact, some of the Safe Management Measures can be implemented by employers regardless of where employees are deployed to, such as health monitoring.

If my business activities are not listed in the permitted services list, can I apply for an exemption to resume business activities?Show

Businesses should suspend operations in their premises from 7 April 2020 onwards until they are approved by MTI to continue operations or their list of business activity falls within the permitted list allowed to operate from 2 June 2020.

Employers whose business operations are not in the list of permitted services may still return to their business facility to take care of crucial tasks that cannot be done remotely or to retrieve necessary materials or documents. No application for exemption is required.

However, if employees have to be activated to return to the workplace for short periods of time (i.e. less than a day), employers are required to apply to MTI for a time-limited exemption to do so. If employers need to maintain a skeletal workforce at the workplace for longer periods, an application for a general exemption should be submitted instead.

What should I do if I see a business that is not in the permitted services list continuing to operate even though it is not supposed to?Show

Please report the incident to covid_gobusiness@mti.gov.sg and include relevant details such as company name, address and relevant evidence (e.g. photographs).

What should I do if my employer refuses to implement Safe Management Measures in the workplace?Show

If you notice any breach of Safe Management Measures or poor practices at the workplace, you can report it via SnapSAFE, an app that allows the reporting of workplace safety and health issues to MOM.

MOM will treat each report seriously and will keep your identity strictly confidential.

Take care of your workers

Are companies that resumed operations required to ensure that their employees work from home?Show

Working from home remains the default mode of working, and all employers should provide the facilities necessary and direct every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable.

From 28 September, employees who are able to work from home may return to the workplace to better support work and business operations. For employees whose jobs can be performed from home, employers must ensure that they continue to do so for at least half their working time, measured over a reasonable period of time not exceeding four weeks. This is to limit employees’ exposure at the workplace.

Return to the workplace can either be initiated by the employee and agreed upon with the employer, or directed by the employer.

In addition, employers must ensure that no more than half of employees who are able to work from home are at the workplace at any point in time. This will help to limit the number of workers exposed at the workplace at any point in time, and reduce crowding in common areas e.g. pantries, toilets, lifts.

Refer to MOM’s Safe Management Measures requirements at the workplace, which include ensuring that employees work from home where possible. A list of resources such as technology solutions and grants available to assist companies is available.

Enforcement checks will be conducted and actions will be taken against business for non-compliances, including failure to ensure employees work from home for at least half their working time where possible.

Is there a minimum percentage or number of workers that employers must place on work-from-home arrangements?Show

The overarching objective of the requirements is to reduce physical interactions in the workplace in order to minimise spread of COVID-19. Working from home remains the default mode of working. Employers should focus on providing the facilities necessary and directing every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable. The proportion of employees that can do so will vary in different workplaces and sectors due to differing operational requirements.

The onus is on employers to show that they have made a reasonable effort to facilitate working from home. Employers must ensure that employees whose jobs can be performed from home do so for at least half their working time, measured over a reasonable period of time not exceeding four weeks, and that no more than half of employees who are able to work from home are at the workplace at any point in time.

This includes reviewing and transforming business processes through technology to support remote working e.g. e-payment, e-invoicing, e-signatures.

Annex A of the Safe Management Measures requirements provides a list of resources such as technology solutions and grants available to assist companies.

How many days in a week should my employees work from home?Show

For employees whose jobs can be performed from home, employers must ensure that they continue to do so for at least half their working time, measured over a reasonable period of time not exceeding four weeks.

A full-time worker with a 6-day work week will be allowed to be in the office for up to 3 days in a week.

If you wish to recall employees to the workplace, you should consider a weekly rostering of employees where they spend a week working from home, and a week at the workplace.

The following are some sample working arrangements you can consider for employees with a 5-day work week.

Scenario 1

Week Work from home Work at workplace
1 5 days -
2 - Up to 5 days
3 5 days -
4 - Up to 5 days

Scenario 2

Week Work from home Work at workplace
1 3 days Up to 2 days
2 2 days Up to 3 days
3 3 days Up to 2 days
4 2 days Up to 3 days

Scenario 3

Week Work from home Work at workplace
1 5 days -
2 - Up to 5 days
3 3 days Up to 2 days
4 2 days Up to 3 days

For part-time employees, the number of days they can spend at the workplace will be pro-rated based on the number of days they work in a week.

A part-time worker who works for 3 days a week and was working from home will be allowed to spend up to 1.5 days in the office in a week.

Your roster / arrangement should also take into consideration the precautionary measures listed in para 6 of the advisory.

With the new work-from-home arrangements, how will taking leave affect number of days working at the workplace?Show

The duration for which employees are on leave will be regarded as them not working at the workplace. Hence, it will not count towards the cap of half their working time that they are allowed to spend at the workplace.

Upon inspection, employers will have to demonstrate to enforcement officers that each employee has not spent more than half their working time at the workplace.

An employee with a 5-day work week will be able to spend up to 2.5 days at the office in a week. If they take 2 days of leave, they will still be able to spend up to 2.5 days days at the workplace in the same period, and the remaining 1/2 day working from home.

How will attending external meetings or events affect the number of days spent at the workplace?Show

As the default mode of working continues to be working from home, work or training done outside the workplace will be regarded as time spent at the workplace and contribute towards the cap of half their working time that they are allowed to spend at the workplace.

What should I do if my employees are unwilling to work from home because their home is not conducive for work?Show

The overarching objective of these regulations is to reduce physical interactions in order to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Employers are required to provide the facilities necessary and direct every worker to work from home for at least half their working time, as far as possible, and ensure that no more than half of employees who are able to work-from-home are at the workplace at any point in time.

For employees whose jobs can be performed from home, employers must ensure that they continue to do so for at least half their working time, measured over a reasonable period of time not exceeding four weeks.

In addition, employers must ensure that no more than half of employees who are able to work-from-home are at the workplace at any point in time.

Employers must demonstrate the business or operational reasons why the workers are unable to work-from-home for the required duration despite review and redesign of work processes and arrangements.

As most of my employees are either doing frontline work or fieldwork operations, it is not feasible for me to rearrange the work such that they can work from home. Will I be penalised for not providing such work arrangements?Show

Employers must demonstrate the business or operational reasons why the workers working at the workplace are unable to work from home despite review and redesign of work processes. Our inspectors will assess the efforts put in by companies to implement work-from-home arrangements based on the practicality of whether the workers can work from home given the nature of the job.

For the safety of workers at the workplace, employers should put in place other Safe Management Measures at the workplace (e.g. ensuring safe distancing, ensuring use of SafeEntry, etc) to provide a safe working environment and minimise risk of further outbreaks.

Special attention should also be paid to vulnerable employees to enable them to work from home, including temporarily redeploying these employees to another role within the company that is suitable for working from home.

Are there any available resources to help my business review work processes to enable my employees to work from home?Show

Yes, IMDA provides a list of digital solutions and resources that aims to make business continuity essential more accessible to businesses.

Eligible businesses can also apply for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to support business transformation and put in place flexible work arrangements to minimise spread of COVID-19 (e.g. work from home, staggered hours).

Will I be penalised if I'm unable to fully implement shift or split team arrangements or avoid cross-deployment in my workplace due to the nature of my business?Show

If shift or split team arrangements cannot be implemented, or cross-deployment cannot be avoided due to the nature of the jobs, additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection, e.g. systemic arrangements are in place to ensure no direct contact with the cross-deployed personnel.

Other Safe Management Measures should still be adhered to in order to ensure a safe working environment and minimise outbreaks.

Some examples of work-related events are as follows:

  • Work meetings (e.g. among colleagues or with external parties)
  • Training
  • Board meetings
  • HR talks (e.g. onboarding, retrenchment exercises)
  • Townhalls
  • Seminars
  • Corporate retreats
  • Conferences on business strategies, workplaces and reviews
  • Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meetings
  • Tender briefings to vendors

The advisory states that special attention should be paid to vulnerable employees (e.g. those aged 60 or above, patients who are immunocompromised) to enable them to work from home. How can companies support them? What if they can't work from home?Show

Those who are more vulnerable should be allowed to work from home where possible. As an employer, you should enable this by reviewing the work processes and providing the necessary IT equipment to your employees.

If the job roles of vulnerable employees cannot be done from home, employers should temporarily re-deploy these employees to another role within the company that is suitable for working from home.

If there is no possible redeployment for vulnerable employees’ work to be performed from home, your employees can still be deployed to work in the company premises. The company however, must ensure that Safe Management Measures such as ensuring clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at meeting rooms, work areas and work stations are implemented.

Are companies required to ensure staggered start times and implement flexible workplace hours for employees at the workplace?Show

Employers must stagger start times such that employees do not arrive at the workplace at the same time, where possible.

Employers should stagger the start times for all employees such that at least half of all employees at the workplace start work in the workplace at or after 10am, as far as possible. This would enable more employees to avoid peak-hour travel, especially if employees require the use of public transport.

Timings of lunch and other breaks should also be staggered accordingly.

For employees who can work from home but who return to the workplace, employers should also allow for flexible workplace hours. This is not to shorten work hours, but to allow flexibility to reduce the duration spent in the workplace, while also working from home during the day.

Employers can:

  • Allow some employees to work in the workplace from 10am-4pm, while working from home the rest of the time.
  • Allow employees to work from home in the morning, and only return to the workplace in the afternoon, e.g. from 1-5pm, or return to the workplace only for meetings and work from home the rest of the day.

Are my employees and visitors required to wear a mask at all times at my workplace?Show

For general office workplaces, employers must ensure that employees and visitors wear a mask at all times at the workplace, except during activities that require masks to be removed or when individuals are alone in their own office with the door closed. Supplementary personal protective equipment is encouraged, whenever relevant (more guidelines can be found in sector-specific guidelines). This is in addition to other Safe Management Measures (e.g. safe distancing) that must be in place at the workplace.

Some examples of activities where the requirement for masks to be worn can be waived include mealtimes, or where other equipment must be worn during the course of work (e.g. motorcycle helmets).

In addition, if an individual is alone in his or her own office with the door closed, and no other person enters the room, the individual may remove his or her mask in the room. If the room door is opened or if there is any contact with people, a mask must be used.

Where possible, employers should consider improving the working environment for employees to enable them to wear their masks.

What type of personal protective equipment should my employees use? Can employees wear other types of PPEs (e.g. face shields) instead of surgical masks?Show

A mask that closely and completely covers the nose and mouth (i.e. without leaving a gap between the mask and the face) must be worn at all times when persons go out of their homes, including while at the workplace.

The following specific groups of persons can use a face shield, in place of masks:

  • Children 12 years and below, who may have difficulty wearing and keeping face masks on for a prolonged period of time;
  • Persons who have health conditions that may result in breathing or other medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time; and
  • Persons who are speaking to a group in a classroom or lecture-style setting, where they largely remain at the spot from which they are speaking, and are able to maintain a safe distance away from any other persons.

A face shield must be worn properly so that it covers the entire face, from the forehead to below the chin, wrapping around the sides of the face.

Plastic spit guards predominantly cover the mouth and are not considered as masks. Face coverings such as neck gaiters, bandannas, scarves or handkerchiefs are not considered as masks.

If the risk of encountering an infectious person is high (e.g. personnel has sustained contact with many other individuals throughout the course of their work), then surgical masks and other relevant PPEs should be used instead.

Can my employees use the recreational facilities (e.g. gyms, lounges) at the workplace in Phase 2?Show

Recreational facilities at workplaces will be able to reopen in permitted enterprises, subject to the required Safe Management Measures (e.g. maintaining a distance of at least 2–3 metres from each other when engaging in any sporting activity or physical exercise).

When visiting such facilities, employees will still have to comply with the relevant Safe Management Measures put in place for that setting.

Can my employees use employer-provided recreational facilities which are not located at the workplace?Show

Access to standalone recreational facilities which are located away from employees’ workplaces will depend on the re-opening plans for relevant permitted enterprises.

These facilities will also be subject to stricter Safe Management Measures (e.g. maintaining a distance of at least 2–3 metres from each other when engaging in any sporting activity or physical exercise).

When visiting such facilities, employees will still have to comply with the relevant Safe Management Measures put in place for that setting.

Can I have a meal with my colleagues at F&B outlets?Show

You can socialise with colleagues in the same shift, team or worksite, in groups within and outside of the workplace, subject to prevailing community social gathering rules and group size limits.

Safe distancing of at least 1 metre should be maintained between groups at all times.

Can I hold religious ceremonies such as 7th month prayers at the workplace? What are the required Safe Management Measures?Show

Yes, these can be conducted up to 30 participants at a time, or a lower number subject to the size of the premise and the need to maintain safe distance.

The prevailing Safe Management Measures requirements must be adhered to, including:

  • The ceremony, including religious prayers, should be kept to as short a duration as possible. Participants present should leave the ceremony immediately after it ends.
  • All individuals present must wear a face masks at all times.
  • Individuals must observe 1 metre safe distance between themselves and others.
  • No reception or on-site meals are allowed before, during or after the ceremony.
  • Singing and other live performances are not permitted during the ceremony.
  • Premises where the ceremony is held should be well-ventilated. Premises that have reduced air circulation (e.g. air-conditioned prayer hall) should, where possible, open doors and windows to naturally ventilate the space after use.

Take care of your workplace

What type of authorised visitors are allowed to visit my workplace?Show

Authorised visitors are those who visit the workplace for official reasons, including:

  • Suppliers or contractors who need to be physically onsite to deliver their goods and services.
  • Buyers who are onsite to collect their goods and services.
  • Visitors who need to attend a physical meeting within the workplace premises.

This excludes visitors who visit the workplace for leisure purposes.

Can I use an alternative visitor management system instead of SafeEntry?Show

From 12 May onwards, businesses are required to use SafeEntry to collect entry information of employees and visitors on their premises.

Businesses that need to retain the use of their current system for the collection of data that are not required in the SafeEntry system (e.g. purpose of visit, employee’s ID number) are required to implement SafeEntry on top of their existing system.

The use of SafeEntry is mandatory because a common system used by all establishments would allow data to be made available to MOH quickly, so as to facilitate contact tracing. SafeEntry allows the data of visitors and employee data to be sent the authorities in an automated manner. Contact data collected by SafeEntry is only used by authorised personnel for contact tracing purposes, and stringent measures are in place to safeguard the data in accordance with the Government’s data security standards.

To cater to visitors who are not able to scan QR codes or do not have their identification cards with them, businesses are advised to also assist individuals to check in through the manual entry function in SafeEntry using their NRIC, or the webform in SafeEntry with the QR code using any available device.

SafeEntry is already implemented for my building, (e.g. malls), do tenants within the building have to implement SafeEntry as well?Show

As part of safe workplace measures, all venues and facilities listed at https://www.safeentry.gov.sg/deployment have to implement SafeEntry for employees and visitors.

This includes office tenants / workplaces where there is a SafeEntry checkpoint at the main building entrance.

Read the FAQs on SafeEntry for more details.

Who will be liable if an employee or visitor has not recorded their entry and exit using SafeEntry?Show

Businesses whose operations fall under the list of places must ensure the use of SafeEntry for all employees and visitors entering premises.

Where can I find more information on SafeEntry?Show

You can visit the SafeEntry website for more information on the implementation and usage of SafeEntry.

In an office setting, would leaving an empty desk marked (e.g. with a cross) suffice for safe distancing? For barriers between workstations, are there guidelines for how high they need to be?Show

Employers must ensure clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at all times and demarcate safe physical distances (at least 1 metre apart) with visual indicators or physical means such as barriers between work stations.

If leaving an empty desk and demarcating clearly with visual indicators allows for at least 1 metre distancing between employees, such an approach can be considered. For barriers between workstations, while there are no specific height guidelines, the barriers should also facilitate the required safe physical distance of 1m apart.

How frequently should I clean my workplace, i.e. what is considered regular cleaning?Show

As the recommended frequency and intensity may differ by sector, businesses should refer to the sanitation and hygiene advisories disseminated by NEA.

Take care of workers who become unwell at the workplace

Do my employees who are working from home need to undergo regular temperature screening and declarations?Show

Employees who are offsite (e.g. working from home) do not need to submit their temperatures or declarations.

However, they should continue to monitor their health conditions and see a doctor if needed.

What is the frequency of health declaration required?Show

Health declarations should be done daily prior to entry into workplace premises. This must be done regardless of whether the employee is working at the employer’s premises, or at a client’s worksite.

Temperature screening and respiratory checks should be conducted twice daily for employees.

Can I fulfil the requirements for temperature screening, respiratory checks and relevant declarations via the deployment of SafeEntry?Show

Yes, declarations by individuals via SafeEntry can be used to fulfil the requirements for temperature screening, respiratory checks and relevant declarations. Employers are reminded that temperature and respiratory symptom checks for employees have to be conducted twice daily at minimum, and for visitors prior to entry.

Employers are not required to keep declaration records for inspection purposes but must be able to demonstrate that regular checks for temperature and respiratory symptoms are in place during inspections. This could include facilities set up to screen temperature or records of temperature checks.

How do I prevent outbreaks from starting at my workplace?Show

You can do your part to guard against outbreaks starting at your workplace through:

  • Adherence to Safe Management Measures at the workplace.
  • Ensuring employees at the workplace who have visited a clinic submit to you records of their Medical Certificates (MCs) and diagnoses provided (only for COVID-19-related symptoms, including acute respiratory infections), and if they were tested for COVID-19 and the results of their tests.
  • Advising employees who are unwell to stay home and consult a doctor rather than going to the workplace.
  • Requiring employees on MCs to closely monitor their health before returning to the workplace.
  • Requiring close contacts of employees on MCs to monitor their health more regularly.

What should the evacuation plan and follow-up plan include?Show

The evacuation plan should include the appointment of the emergency response team, established procedures for activation of response team, evacuation routes, identification of designated clinic and transport arrangements, etc.

The follow up plan should include follow up actions to contain the spread of the virus such as cordoning off and disinfecting of affected area, managing of employees that are in close contact with the confirmed case, etc.

Implement a system of Safe Management Measures

What should be included in my monitoring plan?Show

The monitoring plan should at minimum, include details on the steps taken to ensure the requirements are communicated and adhered to, and how any anomalies or non-compliance will be identified. The plan should also highlight risk mitigation strategies and proposed steps to remedy and document any non-compliance found.

You can refer to Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities for guidance on what should be included in the monitoring plan.

Who can we appoint as a Safe Management Officer?Show

Companies should appoint someone capable of carrying out the duties stated in MOM’s requirements for workplace Safe Management Measures within the organisation as the designated Safe Management Officers (SMOs). For unionised companies, union leaders or Workplace Safety and Health officers could be appointed as SMOs.

Companies should ensure that SMOs are provided with sufficient resources and guidance to carry out their duties effectively.

SMOs can be part-time appointments.

How do I ensure that my employees adhere to Safe Management Measures?Show

Employers are responsible for ensuring that Safe Management Measures are in place, communicated and explained to employees prior to resuming work. Signs should also be put up to remind employers and visitors to observe all measures in place.

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