SHNs: More options for different budgets being considered

The Ministry of National Development is studying ways to provide more options for stay-home notice (SHN) facilities to meet travellers' different preferences and budgets.

As it does so, it will not compromise on the safety of travellers, operational staff and the general community, Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How said yesterday.

He was responding to Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC), who had asked if the Government will consider a tiered pricing schedule for such facilities so that travellers can pick accommodation "commensurate with their affordability and level of comfort".

To minimise operational complexity, travellers are assigned to specific SHN dedicated facilities upon arriving at checkpoints, said Mr Tan.

The cost structure is largely similar across such facilities, and so a standard fee is charged.

But the Government recognises that certain travellers like the elderly or those with disabilities may have specific needs and considers appeals on a case-by-case basis, based on travellers' financial or personal circumstances, he added.

In response, Ms Foo said she has received feedback from many families - especially those bringing in foreign domestic workers - that paying for their SHNs adds up to a significant sum, and called for more economical options.

The cost of testing for foreign domestic workers is currently borne by employers, while the cost of the SHN can be split between the employment agencies and employers, depending on their individual arrangements.

Mr Tan said there are already different tiers of SHN dedicated facilities for certain archetypes of travellers, such as foreign domestic workers or those in the construction and marine industries.

He also acknowledged Ms Foo's point, saying: "We will look at those cases on a case-by-case basis."

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2021, with the headline 'SHNs: More options for different budgets being considered'. Subscribe