Action taken against 66 firms over Covid-19 breaches: MOM

The most common violation of safe management measures at workplaces is failing to ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so.
The most common violation of safe management measures at workplaces is failing to ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so.PHOTO: SGMINISTRYOFMANPOWER/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Enforcement action has been taken against 66 firms which did not comply with Covid-19 workplace safe management measures.

This comes after the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) received more than 3,500 cases of feedback relating to workplace safe management measures.

The ministry has been receiving such feedback since the start of phase two (heightened alert) on May 16, when employers were required to implement work-from-home as the default arrangement.

All employees whose roles can be performed at home must do so.

The most common violation of safe management measures at workplaces is failing to ensure that employees who are able to work from home do so, the ministry said, noting that companies which violate such measures can be fined, or even ordered to cease operations for serious breaches.

First-time offenders can be fined up to $1,000 and repeat offenders up to $2,000.

MOM reminded employees that they must also observe a safe distance of at least 1m when they are in office. 

Social gatherings at the workplace are not allowed, and employees must take their meal breaks individually and at staggered times.

Clear safe distancing markers should also be placed at common areas to reduce crowding, especially during peak hours.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (July 20), MOM noted how some of this feedback could have been avoided if employers had made adjustments to allow their employees to work from home or communicated their operational needs clearly.

The ministry reminded employers that work-from-home remains the default.

MOM said: "With the number of locally transmitted cases on the rise, limiting interactions in public spaces such as workplaces is critical to reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission."

Employers should clearly explain to their employees if they are required to be back at the workplace.

This applies to those who are unable to work from home due to the nature of their work or who must return to the workplace on an ad hoc basis for work.

Employees are also encouraged to clarify their concerns with their employers.

"We need everyone's cooperation to break the chains of transmission and keep Singapore safe and healthy," said the ministry.