From 1 January 2022, only workers who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 270 days, can return to the workplace, said the Singapore government in an updated advisory statement.
While 96% of the total workforce has been vaccinated, there remain around 113,000 employees who have yet to be vaccinated. Of these, around 14,000 are aged 60 and above and are at a very high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 infection. To keep the workforce safe, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has decided that unvaccinated employees will be barred from heading back to the workplace unless they test negative for COVID-19 prior to their return. These employees will need to pay for the costs of the tests and show the results to their employers when reporting to the workplace.
Arrangements for unvaccinated individuals
All unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed to return to the workplace. They can do so only if:
The government also ruled that for unvaccinated employees whose work can be performed at home, employers may allow them to continue to work from home but such working arrangements remain the employers’ prerogative. As the vast majority of vaccinated employees eventually return to the workplace more frequently, the prolonged absence of the unvaccinated employees from the workplace may affect their individual performance as well as negatively impact the team or organizational performance.
Meanwhile, for employees whose work cannot be performed from home, employers can take the following actions:
As the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine has now been included under the National Vaccination Programme, those who are ineligible for mRNA vaccines are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
A tripartite advisory to guide employers and employees on managing unvaccinated staff who can’t physically return to the workplace can be found here.