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FAQs on work and leave arrangements for employees who test positive for COVID-19 but are mildly symptomatic or physically well

Find out about the work and leave arrangements for employees who test positive for COVID-19 but are mildly symptomatic or physically well.

My employee is a household member or close contact of an ART positive individual. Who will pay for the cost of the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits if he needs to work onsite at the workplace?Show

Such employees are advised to take an ART self-test and test negative before entering the workplace, for the next 5 days. Employers and employees should mutually agree on the bearing of costs for the ART kits if the employee needs to work onsite at the workplace.

For employees who face difficulties on the bearing of costs, employers are encouraged to exercise compassion and flexibility, and provide additional ART kits for such employees.

My employee received multiple consecutive ART-positive results but is still physically well. Do they need to do a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test so that they can return to the workplace?Show

A confirmatory PCR is not necessary for employees who are mildly symptomatic or physically well.

You should allow your employee to continue to work from home during self-isolation. If working from home is not possible, you should treat the period of absence from work as paid sick leave.

Your employee will end their self-isolation after they get a negative ART result after 72 hours.

For those who continuously self-test positive, the employee will end the self-isolation (without a need to test) at 12pm on:

  • Day 7 if vaccinated, or
  • Day 14 if not fully vaccinated.
Day 1 starts on the day the employee tests positive.

My employee does not have sufficient paid sick leave to cover the period of self-isolation. Can they be placed on no-pay leave?Show

Every employee who has at least 3 months of service is entitled to up to 60 days of paid sick leave, including hospitalisation leave, which should generally be sufficient to cover self-isolation.

For new employees who do not have sufficient paid sick leave entitlement to cover the period of absence, employers are encouraged to allow them to take advanced paid sick leave. In the event of contract termination which happens before the employee has completed 3 months of service, the employer may make the necessary salary deductions for unearned sick leave benefit.

You should exercise compassion and flexibility in supporting the needs of your employees.

My intern has tested COVID-19 positive. How should I treat the period of absence?Show

Internship programmes where the primary objective is to fulfil academic course requirements typically do not constitute contracts of service.

The education institutions involved play a key role in determining the nature of the internship arrangement, including ensuring a safe learning environment for their students. Prospective employers through education institutions should inform students clearly of their working arrangements such as their job scope, working hours, remuneration and benefits. Employers should treat the period of absence as per the agreement with the education institution or student without requiring an MC.

Interns who are engaged under a contract of service are covered under the Employment Act and are eligible to the statutory benefits prescribed under the law. Employers should treat the period of absence as per the Advisory on work and leave arrangements for employees who test positive for COVID-19.

My employee has been issued with a medical certificate (MC) by a doctor. Can they return to the workplace earlier if they feel well and have no symptoms?Show

Your employee should still self-isolate for 72 hours, after which the employee should do a self-ART.

Employees can return to the workplace if the self-test result is negative and they have no symptoms, without waiting for the expiry of the MC or a recovery memo.

My employees self-discharged from isolation as per prevailing MOH’s health protocols even though they still tested positive. Can I request for them to stay away from the workplace until they receive a negative result?Show

Based on MOH’s prevailing health protocol, employees who continue to test positive can automatically exit self-isolation and resume normal activities on Day 7 (if vaccinated) or Day 14 (if not fully vaccinated), without a need for test or recovery memo.

Employees who are feeling well and are able to work from home should be allowed to do so. If employees are unable to work from home, you should allow them to return to work as per MOH’s protocol.

If the company or the employee requests to go beyond MOH’s protocol, i.e. for the employee to test negative before returning to the workplace even after 7 days of isolation, the employer and the employee should come to a mutual agreement on the bearing of costs for the additional tests and leave to cover the period of absence. If there is no mutual agreement, the requesting party should bear the costs of the additional tests and leave.