The government has urged Singaporean firms to let their staff work from home whenever they can. But, it seems that some employers are finding it hard to implement. Between September 28 last year and January 15 this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has penalised at least 42 employers for failing to adhere to workplace safe management measures. MOM has inspected 5,380 workplaces so far.
Despite repeated calls to make remote working the default, these employers have been to fail at ensuring safe distancing at the office. The most common violations were firms getting their employees to report to the office although they could work from home, and for failing to put clear safe distancing markers in common areas at the workplace, the Straits Times reports.
In June last year, the ministry imposed 52 fines of $1,000 each on errant employers and ordered seven workplaces to shut for lapses. While the vast majority of firms have been compliant, MOM said it will continue to do the inspections and remind areas employers should pay attention to.
The Covid-19 workplace safety protocols, which include caps on the number of workers allowed back in offices, were put in place at the end of the circuit breaker period in June last year. They were last eased on Sept 28 when more employees were allowed to return to the workplace.
Companies in various sectors said they have got used to working remotely, although some differed on the extent to which such arrangements should continue post-pandemic. Most suggested a hybrid model where staff can enjoy some flexibility.