News Recap

News Recap - 16 May to 22 May

22 May 2020

1. Safe Re-opening: How Singapore will resume activities after the circuit breaker

As the daily number of new community cases has declined significantly and the dormitory situation has stabilised, Singapore is on track to end the Circuit Breaker on 1 June 2020.

However, Singapore must remain cautious as circuit breaker measures progressively lift, over three phases. “Safe Re-opening” is the first of three phases, a gradual re-opening of some activities. It will be implemented from 2 June 2020.

Besides essential businesses that are already opening, more Singaporeans will be gradually be allowed to return to work. This starts with businesses that operate in settings with lower transmission risks. To check if a business may resume, refer to this list.

Employers must implement and enforce safe management measures at the workplace, and employees must adhere strictly to them. Checks will be conducted, and non-compliant businesses will have to close their workplaces. Please refer to the press release from the Ministry of Trade and Industry for more details.


2. Post-circuit breaker: When can Singapore move on to Phases 2 and 3?

If community transmission rates remain low and stable during Phase One, more activities can gradually resume and Singapore can then move to Phases Two and Three in subsequent weeks. What are expected to be allowed:

Phase Two (Safe Transition)
•    Social activities in small groups
•    More firms and businesses will gradually be allowed to re-open
•    All students to fully return to school
•    Sports, recreation and outdoor facilities will start to re-open

Phase Three (Safe Nation)
•    Social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events would have resumed
•    Seniors would be able to resume day-to-day activities
•    Services and activities that involve significant prolonged close contact or significant crowd management risk in an enclosed space will be allowed to re-open


3. Advisory on retrenchment benefit payable to retrenched employees as a result of business difficulties due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that has resulted in business difficulties for many employers as well as put jobs and employees’ livelihoods at risk. Hence, helping businesses stay afloat and safeguarding employees’ livelihoods are equally important. The tripartite partners are issuing this advisory to guide employers and employees on retrenchment benefit payable if retrenchment is inevitable.

Having said that, retrenchment should always be the last resort. Instead of retrenching employees to manage manpower costs, employers should consider implementing cost-saving measures as outlined in the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment to save jobs.

However, if retrenchment is inevitable, employers should provide retrenchment benefit depending on their financial position – as stated in the above-mentioned advisory.
Employers must also notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of any retrenchment exercise, if the employer has at least 10 employees and retrenches 5 or more employees within any  6-month period.


4. WSH Alert Accident Advisory

Last week, there were 3 advisories issues by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council.

Advisory for Safe Management Measures at the workplace after Circuit Breaker period

The tripartite partners – the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – have issued an Advisory on Safe Management Measures for companies which can resume their operations.

The advisory guides companies on how to make safe management practices an integral part of operations, which includes proactively identifying situations and practices which have higher infection risks and implementing appropriate precautions and safeguards at the workplace.

Please click here to read the full bulletin

Accident Advisory: Worker struck by rudder and fell

On 11 March 2020, a group of workers was installing a rudder at the rear of a marine vessel when the rudder swung and hit one of them. The worker fell to the ground and was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.

Please click here to view the Recommendations and Risk Assessment.

Accident Advisory: Worker fell while working near a pump of a tank

On 1 April 2020, a worker was working near a pump of a tank when he slipped and fell. He was conveyed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on 5 April.

Please click here to view the Recommendations and Risk Assessment.

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