General advisory for employers if a confirmed or suspect case of COVID-19 is detected at the workplace
Updated as of 28 February 2020
- This advisory provides guidance on the measures employers should adopt when there is a confirmed or suspect case of COVID-19 at the workplace.
- At workplaces, employees may come into regular contact with one another or business associates. A person who has fever or symptoms like coughing and breathlessness may not be infected with COVID-19. However, he should be advised to consult a doctor as soon as possible. If the doctor has reason to suspect COVID-19 infection, the person will be referred for further tests and deemed to be a suspect case. To date, many suspect cases have tested negative for COVID-19.
Advisory for employers
a) If someone at the workplace is a suspect case
- If an employer is aware that someone at the workplace is a suspect case, the employer could remind staff to:
- Monitor their health, including doing temperature checks at least twice daily;
- Adopt good personal hygiene; and
- See a doctor immediately if they are unwell, and inform their supervisors or the HR department immediately. They should stay at home on sick leave even if they feel that their symptoms are mild.
b) If someone at the workplace is a confirmed case
- If someone at the workplace is a confirmed case, MOH’s contact tracing officers will engage the employer to identify any persons at the workplace, including business associates, who may have had close contacts with the confirmed case. Employers should cooperate with the contact tracing officers and provide them with the necessary assistance and support. MOH’s contact tracing officers will assess who among such persons should be placed on quarantine.1 For employees who are not placed under quarantine, employers can remind them of the measures outlined in paragraph 3.
- Upon being notified of the confirmed case, employers should also adopt the following precautionary measures:
- Immediately vacate and cordon-off the immediate section of the workplace premises where the confirmed case worked. There is no need to vacate the building or the whole floor if there had been no sustained and close contact with the confirmed case; and
- Carry out a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of that section of the workplace premises. Guidance on cleaning and disinfection can be found on NEA’s website.
- Some employees may not be able to remain physically at their workplaces if they have been asked to vacate their work stations or are pending assessment by MOH’s contact tracing officers. If it is not feasible for such employees to work from home, employers should exercise flexibility and treat such absences as paid hospitalisation leave or paid outpatient sick leave.
- In general, MOM encourages employers to provide timely information to employees on latest developments and reassure employees and other relevant persons, e.g. customers, of the measures being taken to ensure their well-being at the workplace.
c) Caring for your employees
- Employers should regularly keep in touch with an employee who is a suspect or confirmed case or was placed on quarantine. If the employee has used up his or her medical benefits provided for under the employment contract and/or collective agreement, employers should consider providing additional medical coverage and helping the employee tide over the period of possible financial hardship.
- For further queries, please contact:
Ministry of Manpower
Ministry of Health
MOH Emergency Line 1800 333 9999
- Employees who are placed on quarantine will be deemed to be on paid hospitalisation leave. Employers and employees may wish to refer to MOH website for more information on how employees could manage their essential needs during quarantine as well as the Quarantine Order Allowance Scheme.