Companies are encouraged to impose a leave of absence for employees who travelled during the March school holidays, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Friday (Mar 20). Companies that do so, as well as those who are self-employed, can claim a S$100 daily support under the Leave of Absence Support Programme, the ministry said.
From Friday 11.59pm, all travellers who enter Singapore will be issued with a mandatory 14-day stay-home notice. In addition to this, all students and school staff members who travelled between Mar 14 – when the week-long school holidays began – and Mar 20 will be placed on a 14-day leave of absence from the date of their return. The measure also applies to students and staff of pre-schools, Channel News Asia reports.
“The Government recognises that many parents have been affected by this national measure due to the need to provide care for their children during this period,” said the Manpower Ministry. “At the same time, it is a useful precautionary measure for people who have travelled recently to stay away from the workplace to prevent further transmission (of the coronavirus).”
It added: “Hence, MOM encourages employers to similarly impose a leave of absence for all employees returning to Singapore between Mar 14 and 20 if they have not been issued with a stay-home notice.”
S$100 Daily for Companies Providing Paid Leave of Absence
Some employers have already implemented a policy where employees returning from overseas travel between Mar 14 and 20 would be put on a leave of absence, MOM said.
“These employers should continue with their existing flexible work arrangements or leave arrangements, including asking employees to consume annual leave to cover the company leave of absence,” the ministry said.
Companies that have not implemented such a policy are encouraged to follow suit, and to allow these employees to work from home or provide additional paid leave if working from home is not feasible, it added.
Employers that provide additional paid leave in these cases can apply for S$100 daily allowance for each affected employee. Only staff members who are Singaporeans, permanent residents and work pass holders are covered. Those who are self-employed are also eligible if they have self-imposed leave of absence for 14 days.
Companies are not eligible if the affected employee continues to work remotely during the leave of absence, if he was required to use his own paid leave or if he was placed on mandatory stay-home notice but the travel did not start before regulations came into place for various restricted regions.
“As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, there may be additional requirements imposed on work pass holders from time to time,” said MOM, adding that employers should check the ministry’s website for the latest advisories.
Singapore has reported 345 cases of COVID-19, including 32 new cases on Thursday night – 75 per cent of which were imported. All 24 imported cases were returning residents and long-term pass holders. The Government on Wednesday advised Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad.