Coronavirus: Workers who insist on non-essential travel may have to use leave to serve stay-home notice or LOA

If employees do not have enough annual leave, employers may require them to use advance leave or take no-pay leave. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Employees who insist on proceeding with non-essential, non work-related travel outside Singapore may have to use their annual leave to serve out their quarantine, stay-home notice or company-imposed leave of absence periods.

If employees do not have enough annual leave, employers may require them to use advance leave or take no-pay leave, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation said in a joint statement on Monday (March 16).

This comes in the wake of wider border restrictions as Singapore moves to reduce the risk of Covid-19 importation.

Employers should remind employees of the latest Health Ministry's travel advisory to defer all non-essential travel plans to all countries, and also obtain a travel declaration from their workers for their upcoming overseas plans, the tripartite partners said.

In the latest border restrictions that were announced by the Government on Sunday, from 11.59pm on Monday, all travellers - including Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors - entering Singapore with recent travel history to Asean countries, Japan, Switzerland or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days will be issued a 14-day stay-home notice.

But this will exclude Singaporeans and Malaysians using sea and land crossings with Malaysia, given the large numbers who cross these borders daily.

For employers and self-employed workers who proceed with travel plans after Sunday, they will not be eligible for the $100 daily support when affected workers serve out their mandatory stay-home requirements.

Previously on Feb 21, MOM had said that employers should not force their staff to take leave for their mandatory 14-day stay-home notice or leave of absence or risk having their work pass privileges suspended.

But in other guidelines issued on Monday, employers are also expected to provide additional paid leave for workers who proceed with work-related travel plans if necessary.

This paid leave is to cover quarantine or self-isolation periods, any delay in return to Singapore due to flight unavailability or the need for pre-entry approval, as well as stay-home notices or leave of absence that might be required.

Employers should also accede to staff's requests to abstain from work-related travel and not penalise them for it, the tripartite partners said.

Employers are advised to communicate and explain all policies to their workers before implementing them.


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