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Workplace Safe Management Measures To Stay Put For Now

Tripartite Partners agree risks to further relaxation have risen and urge employers to implement staggered work hours more extensively

  1. Since Singapore transited into Phase 3 of Safe Management Measures (SMM), the tripartite partners1 have jointly reviewed the appropriate posture for Safe Management Measures (SMM) at the workplace. However, with the higher risk of potentially more transmissible strains as well as recent trends in COVID-19 cases in the community (including at workplaces), the tripartite partners have decided to postpone any further adjustments to Workplace SMMs. Work-from-home should remain the default arrangement to minimise transmission risks at the workplace.

  2. Even under current Workplace SMM, peak-hour travel on public transport in January has increased by 11%, compared to November last year. On top of work-from-home requirements, the prevailing SMM advisory requires employers to implement flexible work hours to allow employees to report during off-peak periods, if they need to return to the workplace. The start times for these employees should be staggered such that at least half of all employees start work in the workplace at or after 10am. The tripartite partners call on employers to implement staggered work hours more extensively. The public sector has contributed to this effort by enabling staff to adopt flexible workplace arrangements, such as hybrid working arrangements, flexible workplace hours and staggered start times.

  3. SNEF and NTUC will continue to consult closely with MOM to assess when further adjustments to the SMM can be made. While we understand the desire for more physical workplace interactions, we urge employers and employees to stay vigilant in the fight against COVID-19. The prevailing SMM requirements are vital to continue safe reopening for the economy. As we approach Chinese New Year, we also remind companies that they should not organise gatherings and social activities such as lohei or Chinese New Year meals, as these are not considered work-related events, and are therefore not allowed.

  4. For more information on current SMM requirements at the workplace, please refer to: go.gov.sg/SMM

FOOTNOTE

  1. The tripartite partners comprise Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).