Coronavirus: Singapore bans 4 work pass holders, suspends privileges of 6 employers over leave of absence breach

Staff at Changi Airport Terminal 3 using a thermal scanner to screen passengers disembarking. Singapore has repatriated four work pass holders for breaching their leave of absence requirements, and has also suspended the work pass privileges of six employers. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Four work pass holders and six employers were found to have breached the leave of absence requirements in place due to the coronavirus situation.

As a result, the workers will no longer be allowed to work here, while the employers had their work pass privileges suspended, announced the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Sunday (Feb 9).

It is the first such action taken since the ministry announced on Jan 31 that all work pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China have to serve a mandatory 14-day leave of absence upon their arrival here.

The work pass holders were repatriated within 24 hours and banned permanently from working in Singapore. The six employers will not be allowed to hire work pass holders for two years.

Between Feb 4 and Feb 8, the four work pass holders were caught working at their workplaces during their leave of absence period. Acting on information received, the ministry also found two Singapore permanent residents working at their workplaces during the leave of absence. All their employers were penalised.

Employers and employees have a joint duty to ensure that the employee behaves responsibly during the leave of absence, said the ministry on Sunday, adding that it would not hesitate to revoke the work passes and withdraw work pass privileges against errant employers or employees.

Since Feb 8, 11.59pm, employers have to obtain the MOM's approval for all work pass holders who have travelled to mainland China within the last 14 days before they can enter or return to Singapore.

To ensure that work pass holders placed on mandatory leave of absence abide by the requirements, the MOM has been carrying out regular random checks through inspections, telephone or video calls.

A National University of Singapore (NUS) student has also been suspended from school for a month after breaching the leave of absence requirements by attending lectures.

This is according to an update on Sunday by the dean of students Associate Professor Leong Ching on the university's website. It added that others are also under investigation.

The student was called for a hearing by the university's Board of Discipline over a Skype call, and found to have committed a disciplinary offence by violating the university's isolation procedures.

The suspension begins one day after the student's leave of absence periods ends. The person has also received an official reprimand from the university on Feb 7, and both sanctions will be on the student's formal educational record.

NUS students who have travelled to China within the last 14 days are required to be on leave of absence.

Students who twice contravene any of the university's control measures against the coronavirus could be suspended or expelled.

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