Written Answer to PQ on Workplace Discrimination and Wrongful Termination
NOTICE PAPER NO. 879 OF 2022 FOR THE SITTING ON 11 JANUARY 2022
QUESTION NO. 1485 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
MP: Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim
To ask the Minister for Manpower what are the protection and recourse available to employees who experience workplace discrimination or wrongful termination because they have not undergone vaccination for medical reasons or otherwise.
1. The COVID-19 pandemic has cost lives and disrupted livelihoods globally. With the emergence of the Delta and the more transmissible Omicron variants, the risks of COVID-19 transmission are even higher today. Vaccination remains one of the most effective means of reducing transmission of COVID-19 and lowering the risks of severe illnesses or deaths.
2. There are currently about 48,000 workers in Singapore who have not yet taken any vaccine dose, the large majority of whom are medically eligible. Our Workforce Vaccination Measures (WVM), where only vaccinated workers can return to the workplace, will help to protect unvaccinated individuals, and make our workplaces safer, minimising disruptions to businesses.
3. The tripartite partners urge those who are not vaccinated but eligible to do so to get themselves inoculated as soon as possible. Tripartite partners agree that for unvaccinated employees who cannot return to the workplace, employers have the option of redeploying them to jobs that can be performed from home; placing them on no-pay leave, or terminating their contracts as the last resort. It would not be considered workplace discrimination or wrongful dismissal for employers to exercise these options in accordance with the employment contract.
4. Employees who are certified to be medically ineligible for vaccination will, however, still be allowed to enter workplaces. If such employees are discriminated against or dismissed on the basis of their vaccination status, they should approach MOM for further assistance.