Some 16,000 workers required to undergo rostered routine testing for Covid-19 by today were yet to be scheduled for it by their employers as of last night.
Unless they are tested by the deadline, they will not be allowed to return to work, the authorities said in a joint statement yesterday.
The need for rostered routine testing was first announced on Aug 11 by the Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and the Health Promotion Board (HPB). The authorities said then that workers in higher-risk settings would undergo a swab test every 14 days.
Regular testing is one of several measures introduced to allow the safe restart of work. Others include implementing safe living measures in dorms and arranging staggered pick-up and drop-off timings to minimise interaction between groups of workers.
On Aug 18, the authorities announced that they would stop workers from working if their employers did not schedule them for testing, and urged employers to comply with the rules "to avoid disruption to business operations".
On Aug 22, the deadline of today for the first test was set. A final reminder was issued to employers on Tuesday.
The rostered routine testing requirement applies to workers staying in dormitories, as well as workers in the construction, marine and process sectors and any workers who visit work sites.
"Agencies have also stepped up efforts to directly contact employers via calls and e-mails to prompt them to schedule their workers for rostered routine testing before the deadline," the authorities said yesterday. They added that "unresponsive employers who have persistently failed to schedule workers for rostered routine testing may have their work pass privileges curtailed".
Most companies The Straits Times spoke to said they had no issue scheduling their workers for routine testing. But some also said they had to seek clarifications when they could not find their workers in the registration system or found that the system included the names of workers who did not need to be on site.
Ms Prenitha Thomas, an administrative executive who had to register her company's foreign workers, said she had been in constant contact with the different agencies to iron out the details since early last month. "We have to be very alert to what is happening, it is almost like we have to be awake 24/7 and check," she added.
Employers yet to schedule their workers for testing may do so on HPB's swab registration system.
Employers are also reminded to log in to the system regularly to check if there are new workers for whom they need to schedule appointments, the agencies said in their statement.