News Recap

News Recap – 26 Sep to 02 Oct

02 Oct 2020
1. Targeted quarantine cuts number isolated in dorms A new approach to quarantine has been adopted for migrant worker dormitories aimed at reducing the number of residents that need to be isolated - minimising disruption to work and improving worker welfare.   Previously, the entire block had to be quarantined for 14 days when a dorm resident tested positive for Covid-19, minus those who had recovered recently.   Now, only smaller groups, such as those living on the same floor or in the same section, will need to do so, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday.  >> Read More   2. Workplace injuries down 25% amid dip in economic activity Workplace injuries fell by 25 per cent in the first half of this year, likely due to the suspension of selected workplace activities from April to June amid the coronavirus pandemic.   Workplace fatalities, however, saw just a slight improvement over the same period, with falls from height and vehicular-related incidents accounting for the most deaths.   The number of injuries at work between January and June this year was 4,996, compared with 6,630 in the same period last year. >> Read More   3. Petrochemical makers must rethink strategy in a world upturned by pandemic  Petrochemical producers must seriously rethink strategies to capture limited opportunities opening up as recovery gingerly takes hold in a world upturned by the coronavirus pandemic.   A careful study of each end-use application of petrochemicals and polymers must be undertaken to identify growth opportunities, ICIS senior Asia consultant John Richardson said.   After more than a month-long spike from March, demand for petrochemicals that go into rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, plastic barriers and face masks - which became rare commodities at the start of the fight against the pandemic - have normalised as supply has largely caught up with increased consumption. >> Read More   4. New possibilities for well-being at work Mental health is a complex challenge, even more so during a global pandemic, and complex problems require adaptive leadership. Beyond HR policies and programmes, how can we, as leaders, imagine new possibilities for well-being at work, especially in the face of Covid-19?   First, what is the personal change that we would commit to make as leaders in supporting the mental health of our employees? Our reflex response is often to look at solutions outside of ourselves, but what if we are the solution?   Countless leadership models focus on a leader's role as setting visions and priorities, driving strategies, influencing others and making things happen. But research across 10,000 employees worldwide found that what followers need from their leaders are quite different from what leaders think they should be.   These needs are: trust, compassion, stability and hope. Meeting these four needs, especially in the face of Covid-19, is a critical upstream, primary intervention.  >> Read More   5. Is Your Company Embracing These Employee Well-Being Trends? As the competition among employers for top tier talent grows ever fiercer, so does the importance placed on employee benefits. After all, why go with Company A when Company B offers an equal salary but a few extra bells and whistles?   Among these benefits is a focus on employee health and well-being. A healthy workforce can mean lower stress and fewer employees calling out sick, which means increased wins for the business overall. >> Read More   6. More support for HR professionals through upskilling, strengthening of firms’ capabilities Human resource professionals will get more support for upskilling as part of efforts to ensure that they are equipped to harness the benefits of technology transformation.   To do so, the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) will develop more and different learning avenues for HR professionals, with a greater focus on emerging skills, said Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Wednesday (Sept 30).   This was one of the recommendations by the HR Industry Transformation Advisory Panel (HRTAP) to help build a stronger HR sector in Singapore to enable business and workforce transformation. >> Read More   7. Does your profession suit remote working? In the work-from-home revolution, no two styles of working are the same: flexibility in work hours and location gives employees some degree of freedom and autonomy that in-office work might not.   Behind this facet of telecommuting, however, not all workers are able to enjoy the same privilege. In the US alone, more than 100 million people hold jobs that cannot be performed at home.   The era of social distancing is thus creating a new kind of digital divide: between those who have the option to work from home and those who don’t.   On the surface, the distinction appears to be a matter of role differentiation: a call-centre agent, for example, will have more flexibility to work from home on some days than an in-store sales associate.   As economists point out, there are nuances to this divide – and the growing separation between workers will likely lead to greater social and economic inequality, especially amid the pandemic. >> Read More

News Recap – 19 Sep to 25 Sep

25 Sep 2020
1. Seminars, Retreats and AGMs at Workplaces Get Green Light Work-related events that take place in the office - such as seminars, corporate retreats and annual general meetings - have been given the green light to go ahead as long as safe management measures are in place.   However, large-scale social gatherings, including team bonding and dinner and dance events, remain prohibited both in and outside the workplace, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday, during a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.   "The only things that will resume are work-related events," emphasised Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.  >> Read More   2. Business Travel Pass Being Piloted for Senior Execs in S'pore A new business travel pass is being piloted for senior executives in Singapore with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes.   Travellers on this pass, which is not country-specific, will be required to abide by a strict, controlled itinerary when they travel abroad for work, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement yesterday.   Upon return, the traveller will be given the option to take a Covid-19 test in lieu of serving a stay-home notice, and to self-isolate until the test results are out, it added. >> Read More   3. Singapore Must Act Now to Digitalise or Risk Losing Edge, says Chan Chun Sing  Singapore must act now to transform its economy, or risk losing its hub status and see its businesses' and workers' competitive edge erode, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.   Companies here should not be preparing to return to business as usual, he said. Instead, digital transformation is the key to helping the country thrive and transcend "the tyranny of geography", said Mr Chan, referring to Singapore's small size.   Now is the time to re-engineer processes, build a new economy, and transform to create the right opportunities for businesses and people, said Mr Chan, who was speaking at the opening of the Future Economy Conference and Exhibition. >> Read More   4. Singapore to Allow More WFH Employees to Return to Office Under Specific Conditions (checklist included) More employees working from home (WFH) may return to the workplace in Singapore, as the Ministry of Health (MOH) has just updated its Requirements for Safe Management Measures (SMM) at the Workplace. Employees who are presently working from home may return to the workplaces, provided that employers fulfil both the following criteria:   Such employees continue to work from home for at least half their working time, and No more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time.   The full document of the SMM requirements updated by MOH and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is available here. These requirements are effective 28 September 2020 and are meant for general workplace settings. Specific workplaces like construction worksites and shipyards may have to fulfil additional requirements and should refer to sector-specific requirements.  >> Read More   5. Expatriates Now Allowed to Enter and Exit Malaysia Upon Approval by Immigration Department Malaysia has eased its entry restrictions on expatriates and their dependants, retrospective 21 September, as announced by the Immigration Department.   This will apply to pass holders in the following categories: Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T), and their dependant(s) Employment Pass (Category EP I, II and III) Professional Visit Pass (PVP) Dependant Pass to expatriates for all categories Long Term Social Visit Pass (LT-SVP) to expatriates for all categories Foreign Maid to expatriates for all categories These pass holders are now required to apply for the Entry Permission or Approval to Exit and Return to Malaysia, via the Immigration Department's MYEntry system; while any expatriate who wishes to exit Malaysia and not be returning during the RMCO may proceed without applying for approval. >> Read More   6. The Impact of COVID-19 on New Ways of Working: A Pan-Asia Deep Dive Nearly all employers surveyed in May 2020 (98%) across Asia have acknowledged that their business operations have been impacted by COVID-19, with most expecting the effects to continue for some time.   In fact, one-third (35%) predict the impact from the pandemic will last for six months; 27% believe it will be for up to one year, and 16% are preparing for this to last more than one year. Among one of the biggest changes to working models, 94% of companies surveyed in Asia have adopted flexible work arrangements (FWAs), as a result of which two-thirds of employees (68%) say flexible working hours are now the most important aspect of work-life balance.  >> Read More   7. Ready to Get Back to Business Travel? You might want to rebook your flight after new studies published in the scientific journal Emerging Infectious Diseases showed the potential for COVID-19 transmission during air travel. The first study found that the strain of novel coronavirus, detected in two passengers and two cabin crew members who were on the same long-haul flight, had the same genetic sequence.   A second study presented how – even when only one person shows symptoms of COVID-19 – the virus can easily be spread to a cluster of passengers when seated close to the infected person.   And while passengers can wear a mask to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission, there is still a possibility of infection from coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. >> Read More

News Recap – 12 Sep to 18 Sep

18 Sep 2020
1. Guidelines on Rental Contracts for Singapore Dorm Operators and Employers As migrant workers are rehoused according to new rules to prevent Covid-19 transmission, guidelines have been set to help dormitory operators and employers come to mutual agreement on existing rental contracts.    The Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority and the Economic Development Board said on Monday that they have asked that employers resolve outstanding rental arrears with dormitory operators even if contracts have expired, or if they want to terminate or modify existing contracts.    During the pandemic, many workers were moved from their dormitories to other temporary accommodation as the authorities fought to stem the outbreak.  >> Read More   2. Covid-19 has Made Firms Agile, Hastened Digitalisation: Panel In the past, events like this week's Singapore Summit would have gathered participants in a large venue. But due to Covid-19, the discussions continue virtually.    Citing this yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digitalisation, and Singapore is pioneering different ways to carry on running amid disruptions. "We are not planning on waiting out for the Covid situation to pass. Our priority now is really to learn to live in a Covid world while preparing for a post-Covid world."    He was part of a panel on the topic of digital connectivity and cross-border flows in a post-Covid world on the summit's last day.   >> Read More   3. Global Connections, Digital Readiness More Crucial Now: Iswaran  The pandemic has made it even more important for Singapore to maintain its global connections while continuing to innovate and digitalise, said Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran yesterday.    Mr Iswaran noted: "With lockdowns and safe distancing measures in many countries, the ways in which we live, work and play have also been altered permanently.    "Covid-19 has reinforced the imperative for businesses and individuals to be digitally ready. Businesses must... lay the digital foundation for future growth and competitiveness. Countries must do likewise."   >> Read More   4. Singapore Businesses Most Digitally-Ready in Asia-Pacific: Poll Businesses in Singapore took the top spot in a DBS survey of the digital readiness of corporates in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, with 45% of local businesses indicating they have a well-defined digital strategy.      Hong Kong came in second at 44%, while Japan - which came in first last year - was third this year at 41%. Businesses in the Philippines and Vietnam came in fourth and fifth, at 10% and 8% respectively.    >> Read More   5. 7 Myths CHROs Must Debunk about Leadership Development in Asia The past few months have brought about unprecedented disruption and, in the process, has challenged all of our assumptions on business models, workflows, technology, and people.    As a result, HR and leadership functions are under extreme pressure not only to develop leaders to deal with the here-and-now challenges, but also to proactively prepare organisations for the long road to recovery. And with it, comes the opportunity to reset the leadership development function, and view it with an objective lens, without biases and prejudices.    Through it all, it isn't uncommon to come across myths about developing leaders - be it about leaders in Asia, or that leadership development should primarily focus on top-level executives.    This article summarises seven common myths uncovered in a recent report by the Center for Creative Leadership, titled Developing future-fluent Asian leaders – Myths we must debunk, based on a survey of 248 senior HR leaders across Asia.    The seven common myths are as follows:  Asian leaders are harder to develop to take on senior global leadership roles Leadership development efforts should focus primarily on top-level executives Organisations can have one uniform approach to developing leaders across different regions, countries, and contexts Attending (only) leadership development courses will make you a better leader HR can lead and execute the leadership development agenda without top leadership team/board buy-in Effective leadership development can happen irrespective of the organisation's culture Online/digital learning is less effective than classroom learning     >> Read More   6. HRUnplugged: 4 Ways for HR Leaders to Remain Adaptable and Agile For Subhankar Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director & Head HR, Asia Pacific & Japan, Lenovo, being adaptable is not a choice but a way of life.   The 4 ways for HR leaders to remain adaptable and agile are:  Having a change mindset and understanding that ‘nothing is cast in stone’, Embracing ambiguity, and having the patience to adopt a positive mindset to find solutions to tackle any challenges, Thinking creatively and creating alternate options to address a situation, Having the ability to quickly shift focus, based on changing business needs.    In the interview, Subhankar has also answered to the following series of questions:  What is your take on the most-needed and least-needed skills currently? What are some jobs that will thrive, and jobs that will disappear post the pandemic, both in Lenovo and in HR? What are some of the things on your job description that are brand-new and fresh? How has the HR function at Lenovo helped to enable the company to navigate an increasingly digital future?   >> Read More   7. Singapore Must Remain Open to Benefit from Asia's Growth: DPM Heng Swee Keat Singapore can contribute to and benefit from Asia's growth only if it remains open and connected to the world, while forging new partnerships and evolving its approaches, DPM Heng Swee Keat said.      In a keynote speech at the FutureChina Global Forum on Tuesday, Mr Heng noted that many workers are anxious about their jobs and the benefits of economic openness.      "But we must not undermine what has made us successful, by closing ourselves off from the world," said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.      In Singapore, the government is adjusting its employment policies, upskilling workers and strengthening its social safety nets to ensure they continue to serve the interests of Singaporeans, he added. >> Read More   8. Singapore and Japan to Launch Reciprocal Green Lane for Business Travel on 18 September On 18 September, Singapore and Japan will be launching the Business Track (a.k.a. Reciprocal Green Lane), a framework to facilitate essential business and official travel for residents from both countries.   This comes after negotiations between Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Motegi Toshimitsu and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Dr Vivian Balakrishnan concluded on Friday (11 September).    According to a joint statement by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the first such framework that Japan will implement with another country, and will help restore connectivity and support economic recovery for Japan and Singapore. >> Read More   9. “I Truly Believe HR’s Moment is Now” Boasting over 25,000 global employees, Rogers Communications is a giant in the media industry. Based out of Toronto, Canada, Rogers Communications was founded in 1960 by their eponymous leader Ted Rogers.    At the HR helm sits Jim Reid, Chief Human Resources Officer, dedicated employee champion, and overall strategic genius. HRD caught up with Reid to talk through his personal career path, discover how he’s navigating the COVID-19 crisis, and reveal why now is the time to be in HR.   Key takeaways from this exclusive with HRD:  HR leaders are able to wear a lot of hats, from negotiator to teacher to counsellor HR can move so adeptly from crisis to crisis is because good leaders learn from their mistakes. HR leaders understand what it’s like to have to transform as a result of disruption HR has never been under such immense pressure as they are right now. Managing CEO’ expectations, maintaining a healthy culture, and dealing with anxiety-ridden employees    >> Read More

News Recap – 05 Sep to 11 Sep

11 Sep 2020
1. TraceTogether Tokens to be Distributed from Monday TraceTogether tokens will be distributed nationwide starting next Monday, as Singapore strengthens its contact tracing network in preparation for allowing larger gatherings while it opens up further.       A pilot scheme requiring people to use either the free tokens or the mobile app to check in at certain venues will also start next month, said Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic.       Noting that the app has been downloaded 2.4 million times so far, he added: "But we actually still want to push participation in this programme because this is one of those things where the more people we have on board, the more effective the level of protection afforded to all of us."    >> Read More   2. Five Key Areas the Singapore Government will Focus on Amid the COVID-19 Crisis To round up five days of debate on the President’s Address, in his closing speech, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay summed up speeches made by the various Members of Parliament along five key unifying themes, as outlined in President Halimah Yacob’s address.       He also highlighted suggestions put forth by members in these respective areas, and reiterated how unity will be key for Singapore to move forward.       The five key areas the Singapore government will focus on amid the COVID-19 crisis are:   Sustainability – imperatives for change Securing jobs for Singaporeans   Social compact – building a fair and just society   Strengthening our Singapore identity   Evolving politics     >> Read More   3. Eligible Singapore Firms to Receive Jobs Growth Incentive from March 2021 in Support of Hiring Locals  From March 2021, eligible firms in Singapore can look forward to receiving support payouts as part of the government's Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI).       The scheme, which aims to support businesses in the hiring of locals, will cost the government a total of S$1bn, the Ministry of Manpower announced on Friday (4 September). Eligible firms need not apply for the payouts, which will be computed each month based on their CPF contributions.       "Notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19, there remain areas of strength in our economy and there are firms that continue to do well. The JGI provides substantial salary support to enable these firms to bring forward their hiring plans and grow their local workforce over the next six months, from September 2020 to February 2021.       "Together with the extension of the Jobs Support Scheme, this is a major boost for job creation for locals," the Ministry stated.    >> Read More   4. Foreigners from India Must Take Virus Test Before Entering Singapore All travellers from India who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents will have to take a Covid-19 test before departing for Singapore. From next Thursday, they will have to present a valid negative test result from a polymerase chain reaction test, which must be taken within 72 hours before their flight here.       This new and more stringent border restriction, which covers travellers who were in India within 14 days of their arrival in Singapore, will apply on top of existing requirements - a two-week stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities and a further negative Covid-19 test before the end of the SHN.    >> Read More   5. Location-Based Data Technology More Crucial than Before Amid Covid-19 Pandemic Geospatial, or location-based data, technology is more crucial now amid the pandemic as it can be used to help contain the spread of Covid-19 through solutions such as crowd management applications.       This sentiment was shared by several speakers at the virtual launch of Singapore Geospatial Week+ on Wednesday (Sept 9) morning, an event promoting the importance and growth of geospatial technology in Singapore and beyond.       Mr Simon Ong, acting chief executive of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), said: "The importance of geospatial (technology) cannot be emphasised more, especially in today's environment."   >> Read More   6. Return to the Office Soon? MOH Advises Employers to Enable Off-Peak Commuting Post 0930 hours for Employees In the daily briefing of Singapore's Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MMF) on COVID-19 guidelines, the authorities have provided a possible path to enable more workers to return to workplaces safely.       The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is working with tripartite partners on the next phase of Safe Management Measures (SMMs) for workplaces, given that many employers have sought guidance on ways to enable more employees to return to the workplace safely.       As such, the MMF has urged employers "to implement flexible workplace hours, so that a good part of workers are able to travel off-peak, i.e. after 0930 hours".       "This would help to mitigate the risk of crowding in public places as well as office buildings with more individuals commuting to and from work especially during peak hours. It is in the interest of the employers to protect your workers against the risk of COVID-19. Otherwise, if a cluster is formed at the workplace, it would disrupt business severely."       Since Singapore entered Phase Two post the Circuit Breaker, telecommuting or working from home has remained the default.    >> Read More   7. Minister Josephine Teo Responds to PQs on Fair Employment Practices, Cost-Saving Measures, and Retrenchment In Parliament on Friday (4 September), Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo tackled a series of questions by Members of Parliament (MP), on the topics of fair employment practices, fair cost-saving measures, and retrenchments. The questions include:     How employers' employment practices are monitored and how they are held accountable  Publicly naming the firms who have been placed on the FCF Watchlist, and for their access to government grants and tax incentive schemes to be withdrawn. How tripartite consultations have focused on ensuring fairness in cost-saving measures and retrenchments.     >> Read More   8. More firms setting up Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) desks in Singapore: Chan Chun Sing More companies have set-up LNG desks in Singapore to capitalise on rising demand for gas in Asia, its trade minister told a virtual conference on Monday (07 Sept).     Singapore currently has over 50 companies with an LNG trading or business development presence in Singapore, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing told the Gastech virtual summit. This compares with more than 45 firms with dedicated LNG desks as of September 2018. Asia's appetite for the fuel, led by China, is expected to grow over the long term, attracting investment and triggering new LNG trading desks opening globally.  >> Read More   9. Going contactless in the Light of COVID-19 The current COVID-19 pandemic situation across the globe is known to many by the back of their hands. There is no doubt that major cities at this stage, some at lockdown and while others are slowly reopening up their economies, are introducing digital initiatives and driving contactless transactions.     According to Forbes, the usage of traffic across mobile and fixed networks has seen a steep increase from 30% to 50%. This data shows that people will have to leverage on telecommunications to adapt to the new normal of living, working, and shopping online.    >> Read More   10. A Culture of Innovation Strengthens Business Resilience and Fuels Economic Recovery in Singapore As Singapore and Asia Pacific continue to tackle with the disruptions resulting from the pandemic, 80% of business decision-makers in Singapore today versus 67% pre-COVID say that innovation is now a ‘must’ for them to respond swiftly to market challenges and opportunities, and ensure success. This is reverberated by almost all (98%) leading organisations in Asia Pacific with the most mature Culture of Innovation (Leaders) who agree that innovation is a necessity to staying resilient during a crisis.   >> Read More   11. 12 Things to Consider as you Reset your People Strategies for the 'New Normal' As companies look to reset for the new world of work that emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential for them to make several shifts in mindsets. In particular, the shift towards an approach that values talent as a key asset that contributes to an organisation's sustained value creation will be crucial, revealed a joint report by Willis Towers Watson and the World Economic Forum. The report outlined a human accounting framework that can help organisations measure and quantify the contribution of their people in the same way it measures returns on financial and intellectual capital, as well as provided five workforce principles that can help guide employers to plan and implement an ethical and sustainable reset of their people strategies as they emerge into the 'new normal'.   See this crisis as a defining leadership moment Adopt an agile and continuous learning mindset   Understand the perspectives of all stakeholders and engage them in decision-making   Focus on the intersection of employee and company well-being Make decisions and take actions that consider medium-term needs and longer term business objectives     It also shared seven guiding principles to shift how organisations value people. These include shifts from:   Profit to purpose Corporate policy to social responsibility Stand-alone entities to ecosystems Employees and jobs to people, work and skills Workforce as an expense to workforce as an asset Backward-looking financial metrics to forward-looking value metrics Quarterly to generational      >> Read More   12. How to Hire During a Global Crisis Human Resources Director (HRD, Singapore) reveals the most pressing factors to consider when hiring during COVID-19.     Employers in all industries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. However, the impact has been uneven on businesses, Katie Birch, director of sales at Indeed Singapore told HRD. Thereby, the impact on recruitment has varied across sectors.     Key challenges to hire during this pandemic:   Hiring freeze or priortisation of roles Budget cuts Over supply of candidates       Leaders can consider the value of retaining high-performing employees within their organisations for “hard-to-fill” senior roles and shift focus to upskilling or succession planning, as mentioned by Birch.   >> Read More   13. Singapore Remains Open to Global Talent; Aim is to Benefit, not Substitute Singaporeans: Chan Chun Sing  Singapore’s foreign worker policies are shifting towards “quality rather than quantity” but the country still welcomes foreign talent, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (08 Sept).     Mr Chan, who was speaking at a virtual forum organised by Standard Chartered, noted that there has been much talk on the issue of foreigners in Singapore, but said that this scrutiny is not unique to Singapore.     “Every country facing economic slowdown in recession will have elements questioning the balance between locals and foreigners in the job market,” Mr Chan said.     Singapore will also continue to bring in foreign talent “in a calibrated manner” to create opportunities for Singaporeans, he added.    >> Read More

News Recap – 29 Aug to 04 Sep

04 Sep 2020
1. Workers enjoy afternoon out in parks after months in dorms After months of being cooped up in their dormitories, some 50 foreign workers had the chance to stretch their legs in Labrador Park and HortPark on Wednesday afternoon, as part of a trial run to allow more healthy workers out of their dormitories on rest days. The workers, who are either recovered COVID-19 patients or have tested negative for the coronavirus in the last 14 days, played games, ate and went for walks in the park, in small groups of five. They were chosen by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which had collaborated with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO) to organise the outing.  >> Read More   2. Singapore seeks ‘quality rather than quantity’: Chan Chun Sing on changes to foreign work pass policy  Singapore is putting focus on “quality, rather than quantity” with the latest increases to the qualifying salaries of foreigners on Employment Passes and S Passes, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Saturday (Aug 29). Earlier this week, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that the minimum salaries for new Employment Pass candidates will be raised by S$600 to S$4,500 from September. Holders of the S Passes will have to meet a S$2,500 threshold, instead of S$2,400, from October. >> Read More   3. MOM to look at beefing up resources to tackle unfair hiring practices  The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking at beefing up resources to scrutinise unfair hiring practices by companies, said Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng on Monday (Aug 31). He gave the response in an exchange with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Pritam Singh, in Parliament, who had asked about his statement that the ministry was stepping up surveillance and enforcement actions against businesses that blatantly discriminate against local workers. The Workers' Party chief quizzed the new minister whether "stepping up" entailed increasing the budget for the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), for instance, particularly as there are a large number of companies in Singapore across many industries. >> Read More   4. Singapore site to pioneer digital twin technology for Shell Shell has announced that its manufacturing site in Palau Bukom, Singapore, home of Singapore’s first refinery, will pilot digital twin technology for the company. David Wagg, Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK, has previously explained that a digital twin is a virtual duplicate of a real structure, or system, combining data and models (of differing fidelity), that evolves over time. They have the potential to aid design and could possibly deliver enhanced operation and management commands.   According to Shell, the power of digital twin lies in its visual, data, and analytical capabilities. Live information about plant operations can be provided to engineers via augmented reality and virtual reality, reducing the need to step into the plant.  >> Read More   5. 4 Tips for Embracing the New Way of Work With a mixture of work arrangements becoming more common as employees are slowly returning to office, here are some considerations to help you prepare for it, as shared by experts from the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).    Working from home has become the “new normal” for many organisations these days. However, as restrictions against COVID-19 ease, organisations are likely to take on a hybrid approach to work, encompassing a blend of physical and virtual set-ups, with some employees working from the office and the others working remotely, or a combination of both.   Putting safety first Rebuilding workplace morale Adapting to the new norm Sustaining the new way of work   >> Read More   6. Malaysia Extends Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) to 31 Dec 2020 To control the spread of COVID-19, Malaysia has extended RMCO, which was due to end on 31 Aug to 31 December 2020, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced on Friday (28 August) in a televised address.   The implications of the extension include the following: Borders will remain closed to foreign tourists to prevent the import of cases into the country.  Nightclubs and entertainment centres will remain closed, given the difficulty to practice the new norms in these places. While sports activities will be allowed, it will be without the involvement of international participants and spectators.  The existing strict quarantine regulations in certain places will continue to be enforced, PM said. He explained that given the rapid spread of the virus abroad, the country cannot take the risk of super spreaders lightly.  >> Read More   7. Malaysia Restricts Entry of Long-Term Residents from Indonesia, Philippines and India Effective 07 Sept 2020 From 07 Sept 2020 onwards, long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines will no longer be able to enter Malaysia.   Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced in a press conference on 01 Sept that long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines will be barred from entering the country, with effect from 07 Sept, Bernama reported.   The restrictions include six categories of long-term pass holders, including: Permanent resident status (PR) Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) Expatriates including professional visit pass holders (PVP) Resident pass holders Spouse visas and their children Students who are citizens of the respective countries   >> Read More

News Recap – 22 Aug to 28 Aug

28 Aug 2020
1. Addendum to President's Address: New Insurance Scheme for Migrant Workers' Medical Bills; Better Wages for Locals a Key Priority An insurance programme will be developed to help employers manage unexpectedly large medical expenses of migrant workers, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Wednesday (Aug 26).   The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also carefully consider the cost-sharing model for higher standards in migrant worker dormitories, even as a stronger system of medical support for the workers is built, she added.   "As important as it is to safeguard the health and wellness of our workers, we must also ensure the higher costs are sustainable," Mrs Teo said in her ministry's addendum to the President's earlier speech, setting out its priorities for the new term of government.  >> Read More   2. Singapore Cuts SHN Duration to 7 Days for Low-Risk Arrivals from Malaysia, Vietnam, and More  From 1 September 2020, Singapore will allow general travel to and from Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand, as well as travel for overseas studies, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on Friday (21 August).     Additionally, effective the same day, travellers from low-risk regions/countries will only have to undergo a seven-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN), down from the usual 14 days. >> Read More   3. Shell Picks Singapore Refinery as First Site Globally to Pilot Virtual Manufacturing Tech  Royal Dutch Shell will start a four-year pilot project at its Pulau Bukom refinery to implement the Digital Twin, an advanced manufacturing site technology that is expected to boost productivity, reliability and safety.     The Digital Twin - when fully implemented in 2024 - will be a complete virtual representation of the physical elements on the site, with the ability to dynamically respond to changes in conditions on the site, the oil and gas giant said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 27).   Shell said Pulau Bukom's position as an integrated oil and petrochemicals hub in Asia-Pacific, strong track record in piloting path-breaking digitisation projects and long history were reasons why it was selected to pioneer the Digital Twin. >> Read More   4. Addendum to President's Address: Singapore to Continue Investing in Technology and Innovation to Fuel Growth To help the economy recover from the severe blows of Covid-19, Singapore will keep investing in technology and innovation to safeguard its competitive edge globally and create opportunities for workers and businesses.   Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat made the point on Wednesday (Aug 26) when he stressed the continuing importance of science and technology (S&T) as an engine of growth.   Research, innovation and enterprise in Singapore will help to transform the economy to create more jobs for Singaporeans, added Mr Heng in the National Research Foundation's (NRF) addendum to the President's Address. He chairs the Foundation.    >> Read More   5. Singapore will Push for Sustainable Growth, Further Strengthen Social Safety Nets: President Halimah Singapore will make a “major push for sustainable growth”, while further strengthening its social safety nets, said President Halimah Yacob on Monday (Aug 24) at the opening of the nation’s 14th Parliament.   President Halimah has mentioned that Singapore will reimagine how we plan our city, redesign urban mobility and grow using less resources in a low-carbon future. She also mentioned that Singapore will push for green financing and sustainable infrastructure development across the region, to tap on Asia’s growth while protecting the environment.   >> Read More   6. Making Singapore Sustainable From safeguarding limited natural resources to mitigating the impact of buildings on the environment, local companies have recognised the roles they can play and have stepped up to the challenge.     Global water technology company Xylem has been a part of the Singapore's water story since 1982, and had installed more than 320 sensors in the country's potable water supply pipelines to monitor the performance of the network and respond swiftly in case of abnormalities related to pressure variations, water quality issues, and leakage.  >> Read More   7. Fully Flexible Work Arrangements - Are Employees For or Against Them? Having a fully flexible working arrangement could change how people work – e.g. gone are the 9-5 working days, and it will come a set of working hours tailor-made to an employee's needs. Furthermore, this could mean lesser reliance on the office environment, and more access to working from anywhere, as long as targets, goals and deliverables are achieved.     Nearly eight in 10 employees (79%) surveyed recently are in favour of such an arrangement, Perkbox has noted.     Of the 1,600 respondents, close to nine in 10 (85%) said having such policies would improve work-life balance, while slightly more than half (53%) believed it could make employees more engaged and productive; and 50% said it would allow them to feel more in control of their own workloads.  >> Read More   8. Singapore's MOM Looks to Raise the Salary Criteria for EPs and S Passes In its addendum to the President's address 2020, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) noted that further adjustments to the country's foreign workforce policies will be made to reflect the changed conditions in the employment market caused by COVID-19. This includes increasing the salary criteria for Employment Passes (EP) and S Passes.     According to the addendum, Singapore's foreign workforce policies have been intended to support economic growth, so as to create good jobs for Singaporeans. Regular calibrations are made to enable firms to access the manpower they need while ensuring a strong Singaporean core.     As such, Singapore has among the highest proportion of locals in the workforce employed in professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) jobs - nearly six in 10 locals in the country's workforce today are employed in PMET jobs. A strong Singaporean core has also been created, with nearly seven locals employed in PMET roles, for every one EP holder.  >> Read More   9. How to Maintain a Good Culture Amid High Growth “Leaders won’t be successful if they're propping up values that don't ring true for everyone”     Airbnb, one of the most celebrated hypergrowth companies from the era, knows this all too well. A pioneer of the ‘sharing economy,’ the home rental business was privately valued at US$31bn before COVID-19. But as the travel industry was ground to a halt, the company lost $1bn.                 Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing social unrest – and now, the recession – organisations are beginning to see how the values they’d cemented during periods of high growth are standing the test of a complex and multifaceted crisis.       Key takeaways from this article:   Companies pledging to do better, must put in the effort to do so Values versus Virtues – which is more important?    >> Read More   10. Join the SMF's Webinar to Learn Ways to Implement SMM at Your Workplace As companies move into a new normal after the Circuit Breaker, they are now more concerned with ensuring that their workplace is in compliance with the Safe Management Measures (SMM).   With the support of the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) has come up with a webinar on SMM and WSH for companies in the manufacturing sector. Join the webinar to find out ways on how you can properly implement SMM at your workplace.   Through the sharing of good practices, the webinar also seeks to encourage companies to continue keeping WSH as a top priority in their daily operations, while integrating SMM into their existing WSH framework.   Date: 9 September 2020 (Wednesday) Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm   Register here.  >> Read More   11. WSH Council Urges All to Play a Part in Preventing FFH Workplace Accidents Falls from height (FFH) remain a major contributor to workplace deaths. In 2018-2019, FFH alone averaged 18.7% of all fatal injuries. That is to say, almost one-fifth of the total workplace deaths were due to falls from height. FFH also made up 10.9% of all major injuries and 4.8% of all minor injuries on average over these two years.   To assist employers in addressing the high incidence of FFH cases, the WSH Council has put together a list of accident advisories for fatal FFH-related accidents from 2018-2019, each containing valuable lessons with situation-specific recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents.  >> Read More   12. Accident Advisory: Worker Caught Between Lorry and Forklift On 28 May 2020, a worker was within his forklift, attempting to open the door of a lorry that was beside his forklift, when the forklift suddenly reversed, trapping the worker between the door of the lorry and the chassis of the forklift. The injured worker was conveyed to the hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.   Recommendation Persons such as employers and principals in control of similar workplaces with forklift operations are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents: Forklift pre-operation check Competent forklift operator Forklift servicing and maintenance Worker communication Work supervision Use presence detection technology   Risk Assessment Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise when operating a forklift. The RA should cover, but not limited to, the following areas: Possibility of accidental forklift movement and the measures in place to prevent accidental movement; Possibility of operator entrapment (i) should the forklift overturn, or (ii) when working next to a stationary object or another vehicle; and Safe work procedure for getting on and off the forklift operator seat.  >> Read More   13. Accident Advisory: Worker Fell Through Floor Opening On 3 August 2020, a group of workers was carrying out Addition & Alteration (A&A) works on the second storey of a building. When two of the workers tried to remove the wooden planks on the floor, one of them fell through a floor opening under the planks and landed on the first storey. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  Recommendation Stakeholders, in control of similar workplaces and work activities, such as occupiers, principals and employers are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents: Covered floor opening Barricading of hazardous area Risk communication and WSH awareness Risk Assessment Employers and contractors are reminded to conduct a thorough risk assessment before starting A&A works to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise. Recognise hazards associated with building interior works such as unprotected edges or openings and address the possibility of falling from height. Occupiers and employers are reminded of the need to establish a fall prevention plan and to work closely with their principals and contractors to ensure the safety of all work areas.   For floor openings, key measures include installing secure covers, erecting suitable barriers, placing warning signs and deploying a travel restraint or fall arrest system. To prevent accidents, it is important that on-site rectifications are carried out as soon as possible once an unsafe condition is identified.  >> Read More

News Recap – 15 Aug to 21 Aug

21 Aug 2020
1. Johor Bus Services to Take RGL, PCA Travellers Across the Causeway to Woodlands Free bus services provided by the Johor Public Transport Corporation (PAJ) to ferry travellers across the Causeway under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes were allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore from Thursday (Aug 20).     State Public Works, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri said this was the result of an agreement between the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) at the Sultan Iskandar Building and Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).    >> Read More   2. Malaysians or Malaysia PRs with a Valid Work Pass can Now Enter Singapore under the New PCA Starting from August 17, if you employ work pass holders who are Malaysians or Malaysia permanent residents (PRs) and who enter Singapore by land, you can now bring them in under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme. This is according to the Ministry of Manpower's latest update of the advisory for employers and employees travelling to and from COVID-19 affected areas.       Under the PCA scheme, Malaysians or Malaysia PRs with valid Singapore work passes should remain in Singapore for at least 90 days before returning to Malaysia for home leave.       The advisory stated that all other pass holders, including those on in-principle approval (IPA), Dependant’s Pass, Long Term Visit Pass and Letter of Consent (LOC), must continue to obtain MOM’s entry approval to enter Singapore.   >> Read More   3. COVID-19 Accelerates Digitalisation, Transformation for Some Businesses  The COVID-19 outbreak may have put the brakes on expansion plans for many companies in Singapore, but it has also pushed some into digitalising and transforming their businesses. F&B giant BreadTalk Group is among the firms taking a different approach. Brandon Tanoto with more. >> Read More   4. Coronavirus Gut Check: How Small Businesses are Surviving It’s been a trial by fire for small-business owners trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.   “We walked into 2020 with a plan that we made in 2019 and then COVID-19 gut-checked us. Surprise!”. The CEO of Black upStart, Kezia Williams, said in the latest episode of #Next20, a new Verizon series about the issues that will define the next 20 years.   Entrepreneurs on inadequate budgets who have managed to keep their businesses open during the pandemic have had to rip up their business plans, dismissal of workers, pivot, renegotiate leases, reduce traffic at their shops for safety reasons, try to rehire fewer employees, and develop new products to sell – all while maintaining cash flow in an environment where many consumers are cash-strapped and unemployed.    >> Read More   5. COVID-19 Crisis may Widen Income Gap in Singapore: Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) Reports While the Singapore government has ramped up efforts to save jobs amid the pandemic, the full impact on income is "far deeper and broad-based" than current economic numbers would suggest, with low-income earners bearing the impact of the prolonged slump, fresh data from DBS showed.   Against this setting, the pandemic is a "highly regressive" event which could possibly widen the income gap in Singapore, said DBS senior economist Irvin Seah at a media briefing on Tuesday.   As at May this year, more than 300,000 – or 26 per cent – of 1.2 million DBS customers have experienced a decline in income by more than 10 per cent. Among these affected customers, about a third suffered even sharper income deterioration in excess of 50 per cent, according to the bank's recent report on financial wellness.    >> Read More   6. New Initiative by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Allows SMEs to Seamlessly Prepare, File Returns SMEs can now automate the preparation and filing of their statutory returns with IRAS and ACRA using dedicated accounting software, the agencies said in a joint statement on Thursday, 20 August 2020.       IRAS and ACRA have partnered accounting software providers to incorporate regulatory filing requirements into providers' software, which will automatically generate the required returns for companies with simple tax affairs and accounting transactions.    >> Read More   7. S$8 Billion Added to Singapore's COVID-19 Support Fund: What HR and Employers Should Note The Singapore Government will be funding an additional S$8 billion worth of COVID-19 support measures, the Ministry of Finance announced on 17 August 2020.     In Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s ministerial statement, he has noted that residents and workers have been sharing their concerns on job security and loss of income, while Business and union leaders have also spoken about their efforts to retain workers and help them upskill or retrain.     3 core areas the Government is working towards to:   Continued support for jobs, and creating new ones; Providing further support for sectors which have been hit the hardest; Providing further support for sectors which have been hit the hardest Positioning Singapore to seize growth opportunities in a post-COVID-19 world      >> Read More   8. Your 5-minute Guide to Outsourcing Payroll Processes From Excel sheets to employee self-service. From a back-end office function to becoming more visible. Payroll has come a long way, but has a longer way to go especially in times of pandemic when time and budgets are tight, affirms Aileen Ng, Regional Lead for HR and Payroll in APAC, TMF Group, in this exclusive interview with Human Resources Online.   Payroll in Singapore was always seen as an outdated back-end function, with very little attention paid to it as long as employees were getting paid for their work done. This was up until recent years, with the push for more digital practices and online interaction with agencies such as Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), supported by government funding of software for SME employers. What also helped the evolution of payroll is the increasing expectations of the new generation in understanding their payroll clearly and easily.     >> Read More   9. Singapore's 2020 Salary Outlook for HR, Accounting & Finance, and More Kelly Services' 2020 Singapore Salary Guide, developed in collaboration with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), summaries what professionals across functions – including Chief Financial Officers, regional HR Managers, and more positions can expect to take home this year. The functions that are covered are:   Human Resources; Accounting & Finance; Sales & Marketing;   Procurement; Office Support; Customer Service       >> Read More   10. What to Consider When Recruiting Amid COVID-19  How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the recruitment market in Singapore?     Callam Pickering, APAC economist at Indeed mentioned that while hiring seems to be showing improvement in most countries, it “hasn’t been the case” in Singapore.     “The impact of COVID-19 has been different here, owing partly to an initial containment of the spread, which delayed the hiring impact,” said Pickering, who's holding an upcoming webinar on the pandemic's impact on Singapore's labour market.    >> Read More

News Recap – 08 Aug to 14 Aug

14 Aug 2020
1. Tracking Workers’ Health with Mobile Apps, Wearable Devices As the economy and travel gradually restart, migrant workers re-entering both the country and the workforce pose potential COVID-19 risks. To address this, the authorities have turned to digital technology, using tools like apps and wearable GPS devices to keep track of their health and movements. Senior government officials told The Straits Times that such technological solutions have led to great savings in manpower and resources, and it would be otherwise unthinkable to handle the vast numbers and logistics involved.  >> Read More   2. New COVID-19 Cases Detected at Cleared Dormitories; Workers in Dorms to be Swabbed Every 14 Days There have been new cases detected at dormitories declared to be cleared of the coronavirus and the authorities are monitoring the situation to manage the risk of new outbreaks. A joint statement by the Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development and the Health Promotion Board on Tuesday (Aug 11) pointed to fresh infections in cleared dormitories without providing any details on the numbers affected. It said that safeguards have been put in place to make sure that the intensive efforts spent over the past four months on the dormitories so far do not go to waste. >> Read More   3. All Dorms Cleared of COVID-19 by Ministry of Manpower as of Aug 11 All dormitories, with the exception of 17 blocks in six purpose-built dormitories which serve as quarantine facilities, have been declared to be clear of the coronavirus by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as of Tuesday (Aug 11).   This brings to a close a four-month long effort by the authorities since a number of dormitories were first gazetted as isolation areas in April. With the latest clearance, four in five, or 315,000 workers in the construction, marine and process sectors – which have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus – have been given the green light to resume work. >> Read More   4. Ministry of Manpower (MOM): National Jobs Council (NJC) Curated 92,000 New Job Opportunities as at End-July As at end-July 2020, NJC  has curated 92,000 new job opportunities and 24,000 jobseekers have been placed into jobs, revealed the inaugural Jobs Situation Report by MOM. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has stepped up support for both the employers and workers. These efforts, which are now coordinated through the NJC, include the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package which aims to support close 100,000 jobseekers by expanding job, traineeship, attachment and training opportunities. To help jobseekers better access these opportunities, the new Jobs Situation Report will provide weekly updates on the jobs situation in Singapore, highlighting the opportunities available for jobseekers and how they can be accessed.  >> Read More   5. Has COVID-19 Changed Employees’ Expectations of HR? Head of HR APAC, Yvonne Teo, from ADP shares the ‘clear challenges’ leaders must prepare to face in these turbulent times. While the future is uncertain, Yvonne Teo, believes the challenges facing HR leadership are clear. Besides the additional pressure from company leaders to perform, the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed employees’ expectations of HR, according to Yvonne’s observations. Key takeaways from this interview with Human Resources Director media: Management should trust their employees to perform while working from home Management should frequently update their employees on Company’s plans and individual performance Goals of leadership and employees complementary if managed effectively    >> Read More

News Recap – 01 Aug to 07 Aug

07 Aug 2020
1. Foreign Worker Levy Waiver, Rebates to be Extended Firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors badly hit by the coronavirus crisis will get more help to defray their labour costs, with the Government waiving more months of the foreign worker levy and giving more levy rebates. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), announced the extension of the support schemes on 1st August 2020 (Saturday) and said that $320 million will be set aside to cover the rebates.  >> Read More   2. Travellers who Serve Stay-Home Notice Outside of Facilities After Entering Singapore must Wear Electronic Device Starting 11th August 2020 (Tuesday), travellers entering Singapore who are serving their stay-home notice outside of dedicated facilities will have to wear an electronic monitoring device throughout the 14 days. This will apply to all travellers including Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, work pass holders and their dependants, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Education (MOE) in a press release. Any attempt to leave the place of residence or tamper with the electronic device will trigger an alert to the authorities, who will conduct follow-up investigations, except when the person is leaving his or her place of residence for an appointment to take the COVID-19 swab test. >> Read More   3. 265,000 Foreign Workers Get Nod to Return to Work The COVID-19 restrictions have forced firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors to halt work since April, with many still unable to fully resume operations. But the dark days have begun to recede. As of 4th August 2020 (Tuesday), 265,000 foreign workers in the three sectors have been given the green light to return to work, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Of these, 180,000 are residents in dormitories. This is a 73 per cent increase from a fortnight ago, when just 104,000 workers in dorms were allowed to do so, MOM said in a statement on Tuesday. >> Read More   4. Steps to Ease Movement Curbs, Boost Well-Being of Migrant Workers in the Works: MOM Plans are in the works to better support migrant workers’ mental health and allow them more freedom to leave their dormitories. Stress, caused by quarantines and uncertainty over personal health, families and jobs, has been building up amongst migrants workers. Attention has been called to the psychological impact of movement restrictions on the vulnerable and low-paid group since the pandemic started. Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamed said there will be a “relaxation from the current position” to explore ways for workers to safely leave the dorms, for example through staggered rest days.  >> Read More   5. 11 Skills that Make Remote Workers Successful It takes a new type of worker to survive the “new normal”. With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the business landscape, hiring managers are now on the lookout for professionals who can meet the demands of remote and flexible work arrangements. How does one succeed in this new environment? Hiring managers identified the following skills as the most crucial to remote work: Time management (77.2%) Working well independently (61.2%) Self-motivation (44.2%) Organisation (44.2%) Self-sufficiency (41.7%) Technology literacy (34%) Interpersonal skills (32%) Proactive communications (28.2%) Managing expectations (24.8%) Proactiveness (19.4%) Consistent communication (18.9%)    >> Read More   6. 47 Employers Added to Watchlist for Suspected Discriminatory Hiring Practices 47 employers – most of which are from the financial and professional services sectors – have been placed on a watchlist of companies with suspected discriminatory hiring practices, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 5th August 2020 (Wednesday). The 47 companies collectively hire about 2,000 employment pass holders and more than 2,800 local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). They were added to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist “as their workforce profiles indicate that they may have discriminatory hiring practices”, said MOM in a press release.  >> Read More

News Recap - 18 Jul to 24 Jul

24 Jul 2020
1. Singapore’s Largest Dormitory With 16,000 Workers Cleared of Coronavirus Singapore’s biggest dormitory for migrant workers has been declared free of the coronavirus after it had recorded one of the earliest and largest clusters among dorms. Sungei Tengah Lodge was one of 69 more dorms of various types cleared by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as of yesterday, bringing the total number cleared to 891. Around 247,000 workers either have recovered or were tested to be free of the virus – more than 75 per cent of the 323,000 people residing in dorms.  >> Read More   2. 354 New COVID-19 Cases In Singapore, Including 8 In Community And 5 Imported From India Singapore has confirmed 354 new cases of COVID-19, including eight that are in the community, five that are imported and 341 who are migrant workers staying in dormitories. In a press release on Thursday (July 23), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the five imported cases include two permanent residents, two work pass holders and one dependant’s pass holder. >> Read More   3. Comeback Strategies: 9 Ways For Companies To Return To A “New Normal”   Employers realised that returning to the workplace was not the same as compared to pre-pandemic times, and is actually more complicated than what they perceived. Whether employees are telecommuting or working on-site, one thing we know is that a new shape of work will emerge. As the pandemic unfolded in stages, economic recovery will also likely happen in stages: Return safely to work Navigate a dynamic environment and ready the workplace Re-examine remote, flexible and blended working Delegate non-core activities to focus on priorities Return to stability Clarify priorities and realign around “the new minimum” Focus on cost containment and zero-basing design Use transformation as an optimisation strategy Return to energy Support the workforce – mentally, physically and financially Reconfirm the organisation’s purpose and value Design an energising employee experience >> Read More   4. 4 Things HR Can Do To Sustain Engagement In A Remote Workforce During this COVID-19 pandemic, HR has tirelessly supported business continuity and keeping employees safe, healthy, and productive. Ever since Singapore entered the circuit breaker, and employees were forced to telecommute, it became necessary for them to move certain processes virtual. A survey by Kerry Consulting found that the adoption of e-onboarding and e-exit has been very popular during the circuit breaker, with 83% of respondents following clear processes along with the use of video calls and other specific e-practices whenever possible. HR can adopt the following to sustain Employee Engagement: Virtual Team Building Digital Learning & Development Communication & Feedback Health & Wellness Activities    >> Read More   5. Google Supports 3,000 Singaporean Through On-The-Job Training, Local Office Placements, Training Courses And More Google has collaborated with Economic Development Board (EDB), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), to launch Skills Ignition SG - a jobs and skills training initiative for 3,000 local entry-level and mid-career jobseekers in Singapore. Currently under Skills Ignition SG, there are two programmes being offered: On-the-job training and opportunities Skills upgrading   In April this year, Google and UOB announced the expansion of the SME Leadership Academy, thus increase the capacity by ten-fold to help 4,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by the end of 2021. Since its expansion three months ago, the programme has trained over 1,000 SME workers in the retail and tourism sectors.  >> Read More   6. Staying Ahead Of The Curve In A Post-Pandemic World “Be ready with new skills, not just any skill but those that are related to your workplace by paying attention to the emerging skills and trends in your industry”. This statement is mentioned by Patrick Tay Teck Guan, MP-Elect for Pioneer SMC, Asst Secretary-General, NTUC, in this exclusive interview with Human Resources Online. The past few months have been fraught with uncertainty for what the future holds and how we can pull through this COVID-19 pandemic. As we progressively move towards the reopening of the economy, the questions pondering on our minds are: What’s next? How do we brave through a post pandemic era, and prepare ourselves for the future ahead, when we don’t even know what the future holds?   The interview is primarily talking about upskilling and training and the focus on how we can learn new skills and future-proof ourselves in this post-pandemic era.  >> Read More   7. Case Study: Approaching Personalised Learning Through The Lens Of The Learner What if you could customise your training plan through an application? Christopher Schultz, Director, Group Learning & Organisation Development, puts himself in the learner’s shoes for a personalised Learning & Development strategy, in this exclusive interview with Human Resources Online. Some key takeaway points from the interview session: Learners would appreciate if an app would tell them what their learning goals are Address issues pertaining to training through an application is vital    >> Read More  

News Recap - 11 Jul to 17 Jul

17 Jul 2020
1. Resuming Business Activities Make Sure You Have These Safe Management Measures In Place With more businesses in Singapore resuming activities during Phase Two of reopening, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has put together a checklist of safe management measures required at the workplace for the resumption of business activities, as well as what companies must be prepared to show when inspected by any government agency. Employers in Singapore should note that the Government will take action against errant employers, including the cessation of operations and enforcement.   While this checklist is released by Singapore's MOM, we're confident it will come in handy for HR leaders across the region as your organisations prepare to resume business activities over the next few weeks/months. The checklist has been split into four key parts (click on the link to jump straight to each part):  Take care of your workers Take care of the workplace Take care of workers who become unwell at the workplace Implement a system of safe management measures at workplaces    >> Read More   2. Singapore Researchers Discover Antibodies that Can Neutralise Virus, Paving Way For Better Treatment The search for antibodies that can neutralise the coronavirus in a Covid-19 patient can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but researchers in Singapore have prevailed. They have found antibodies, a key element of the human immune system, that bind to four important sites of the coronavirus. In binding to these sites, the antibodies prevent the virus from either hijacking a human cell, or replicating inside of it. >> Read More   3. New Contact Tracing Device And Check-in System On Trial At Worksite Surbana Jurong is trialling the use of a new contact tracing device and digital check-in system to have more visibility and control over the social encounters of Covid-19 patients to minimise infection spread at worksites. The move is said to be necessary to avoid contributing to another wave of infections and business shutdowns. The technology on trial is developed by Temasek Holdings-owned cryptographic technology specialist D'Crypt, and could potentially complement the national contact tracing device TraceTogether Token and mandatory digital check-in system SafeEntry at workplaces. >> Read More   4. Singapore Enters Technical Recession As GDP Dives 12.6% The economy took a far bigger hit than expected in the second quarter as the circuit breaker took its toll and sent the country into its first technical recession in 11 years. Gross domestic product (GDP) dived 12.6 per cent compared with the same period last year - markedly more than the 10.5 per cent drop economists tipped in a Bloomberg poll. It is also much worse than in the first quarter, when GDP fell by a revised 0.3 per cent, marking the first time growth had turned negative in a decade.  >> Read More   5. More Covid-19 Cases Among Migrant Workers Expected As More From Higher-Risk Dorms Are Tested More Covid-19 cases could arise among migrant workers in dormitories over the next few days because more will be tested after completing their isolation period, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (July 14). Some of the workers come from dormitories with a higher prevalence of Covid-19, which is expected to lead to increased case numbers, it added. More than 215,000 workers have been tested and cleared so far - comprising around two-thirds of those living in dorms, MOH noted.  >> Read More   6. Leadership And Career Enablement Top APAC's Learning List Amid COVID-19 Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, learners are moving away from job-specific knowledge to soft skills - specifically leadership and career enablement. Digging deeper, Tigerhall pointed out that this trend suggested that users were looking to learn insights on embracing change and disruption, communicating effectively as leaders, making hiring and firing decisions, as well as managing a team that is working remotely; aptly reflecting the challenges faced by professionals in mid-level positions and above in their efforts to help their teams and organisations navigate the ongoing economic crisis.  >> Read More   7. How To Build A Meaningful Partnership Between Functional Leaders And The HR Manager? Meaningful business partnership (BP) between functional leaders and their respective HR manager can be valuable in successfully managing functional groups. Especially, in global settings, with employees from different culture and customs, under different sets of laws of the lands, forming BP with the local HR becomes all the more important for functional leaders for effective management of the foreign branch office.  >> Read More   8. Digital transformation and leadership tips from head of HR at JLL Winnie Tsien, Head of Human Resources for Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan at Jones Lang LaSalle, reveals how she made the switch from social worker to HR, her leadership style, the challenges of digital transformation, and why dealing with people is the greatest challenge of all. Some key takeaway points from the interview session: Be resilient, positive and patient when it comes to digital transformation Be an inclusive and transparent leader to see things in a bigger picture    >> Read More

News Recap - 04 Jul to 09 Jul

09 Jul 2020
1. 7 More Worker Dorms Cleared of COVID-19 Patients Seven worker dormitories have been cleared of patients who test positive for the COVID-19 virus, and now house only recovered individuals and those who have recently tested negative for the virus. The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (July 8) that the inter-agency task force has been clearing dormitories through aggressive testing of migrant workers residing in dormitories. The seven dormitories, which are also now closed clusters, are at Tuas South Street 12, 109 Ubi Avenue 4, 11 Defu Lane 1, 12 Kwong Min Road, 18 Woodlands Industrial Park E1, 55 Genting Lane and 6 Tuas View Square.    >> Read More   2. Long-term Effects of COVID-19 Infection Being Studied in Singapore More than 500 COVID-19 patients here who have recovered are part of an ongoing study to monitor the long-term effects of infection. The effort, which will continue for up to two years, is helmed by the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).   Numerous studies worldwide have found that the disease can wreak havoc on almost every organ, including the kidneys, liver, heart and brain. Patients have died not only from lung failure, but also from kidney failure, blood clots, liver abnormalities and neurological manifestations.  >> Read More   3. Malaysia May Announce Decision on Reopening of Borders for Green Zone Countries Soon Malaysians and Singaporeans may soon have a better idea about the reopening of Malaysia's borders, as its Minister of Foreign Affairs has announced that negotiations are ongoing. In a Facebook post yesterday (6 July), Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said these negotiations are on, especially on agreements in the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) category, which includes Singapore, Brunei, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia in the green zone previously announced by Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. This RGL was introduced to facilitate travel between these countries, either for official purposes or essential business; at the same time, a Periodic Commuting Agreement (PCA) will enable Singaporeans and Malaysians who are also long-term pass holders to return home periodically on a short-term basis. >> Read More     4. How Digital Twins Help Achieve Business Continuity in Changing Times Implementing or enhancing digital twins will help companies prepare for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that is likely to continue into 2021 and beyond.  Business continuity refers to maintaining, adjusting or rapidly resuming business functions in the event of a major disruption. Most major organizations have continuity plans in place that cover dealing with critical system/network failure, cyberattacks, hurricanes or price fluctuations in critical materials but not for pandemics. Since the declaration of the pandemic, many supply chain professionals have had to learn how their organizations were adapting and achieving business continuity by leveraging digital twins.    >> Read More   5. How Confident are Millennials and Gen Zs in Their Employers' Response to the Pandemic? In times of crisis - such as the current COVID-19 pandemic - how governments respond is one thing, but how the employer responds is also critical in building up employee confidence. In fact, in the recent 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, a number of Millennials and Gen Zs surveyed around the world found themselves more loyal to their employers based on how they handled the ongoing pandemic. For instance, of the 9,102 individuals surveyed across 13 countries between April and May this year, two-thirds said they were pleased with the speed and manner in which their employers had acted; at the same time, about six in 10 (60%) believed these actions made them want to stay with their employers for the long term. Additionally, in terms of mental health, about 60% said their employers had taken actions to support their mental wellbeing during this period, with a majority saying their employers had sacrificed profits to help them and their clients/customers.  >> Read More   6. Suite Talk: Ohmyhome's CEO on Why You Should Treat Your Team as Family In an exclusive interview with Rhonda Wong, CEO and co-founder of Ohmyhome (housing property company), hosted by Human Resource Online, she shares with us her beliefs in treating her team like her own family and tips for employee retention. Some key takeaway points from the interview session: Inspiring your team is important, as retention rates can increase Adopting an “open-door policy” where your employees can approach you readily Constantly thinking on ways to bring out the talents of the individuals    >> Read More

News Recap - 27 Jun to 03 Jul

03 Jul 2020
1. Phase two will likely stay in place for months Restrictions such as limiting gatherings to groups of five people or fewer will likely remain for sometime despite more activities resuming under phase two of Singapore's reopening, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.   Mr Wong told a virtual press conference that phase two, which started two weeks ago, will run for months before the next level kicks in.  >> Read More   2. Keeping organisations in Singapore running during COVID-19 The onset of Covid-19 and mandatory lockdowns across the globe left organisations with limited time to react. Businesses had to keep delivering quality service to their customers, while simultaneously ensuring that employees are treated with compassion, and given the support they need to stay safe.  Maintaining the safety of workers means businesses must deploy robust and smart solutions to enable new ways of working remotely from the office. Contact centre services also need to be quickly upgraded to avoid disruption to customer service. Members of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) are leveraging the cloud and implementing innovative solutions to help organisations adapt to this new environment. >> Read More   3. 78 more migrant workers dormitories cleared of COVID-19 Another 78 migrant workers dormitories have been cleared of COVID-19, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Tuesday (June 30). This brings the total number of migrant workers cleared of COVID-19 to 87,000 as of Sunday, said the ministry in a media release. The figure includes those residing in Government-provided accommodation facilities as well. The latest cleared dormitories comprise 72 factory-converted dorms and six construction temporary quarters, said MOM. Three blocks for recovered workers in three purpose-built dormitories have also been cleared of COVID-19. >> Read More

News Recap - 20 Jun to 26 Jun

26 Jun 2020
1. MOM warns of phishing campaign using fake e-mail address with COVID-19 support fund as bait A potential phishing campaign designed to steal personal data and financial information of individuals and companies is being planned by hackers using a fake Ministry of Manpower (MOM) e-mail address, warned the Ministry on 19th June 2020, Friday. MOM said the hackers are planning to use the e-mail to trick people, using the COVID-19 support fund as bait to get them to share private data. “The hackers plan to use a spoofed MOM e-mail address (covid-support[@]mom[.]gov[.]sg) and using the COVID-19 support fund as a lure to get recipients to click on the embedded phishing link,” MOM further elaborated.  >> Read More   2. 31 more dorms COVID-19 free; 79,000 migrant workers in total cleared of COVID-19 Thirty-one more dormitories – which houses about 3,700 residents – have been cleared of COVID-19, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on 23rd June 2020 (Tuesday). In a press release, MOM said that the dormitories comprise 27 factory-converted dormitories and four construction temporary quarters. In addition, four Blocks for Recovered Workers (BRWs) within three purpose-built dormitories have also been cleared. In total, 163 dormitories and 18 BRWs in 11 purpose-built dormitories have so far been cleared of COVID-19. MOM further added that as of 22nd June (Monday) about 79,000 migrant workers have been cleared of the virus, including those who are residing in government-provided accommodation facilities. Those cleared of the virus are a mix of workers who have tested negative as well as those who have recovered from infections. >> Read More   3. Most migrant workers expected to be cleared of coronavirus by end-July By the end of next month, about 70 per cent to 80 per cent of foreign workers staying in dormitories in Singapore are expected to be cleared of the virus, allowing them to resume work. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, in disclosing this at a virtual briefing yesterday, said these workers “would have either recovered or tested free of the virus”. "So we are controlling the infection in the community, and we are continuing to make progress to clear the migrant worker clusters and the dormitories, and allow the workers to resume work safely," said Mr Wong, who co-chairs a task force combating the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore. He added that the authorities hope to test and clear the remaining 20 per cent of workers of the virus in August. >> Read More   4. New licensing conditions for employment agencies from Oct 1 to ensure they consider Singaporeans fairly New rules are being introduced to ensure employment agencies recruiting candidates on behalf of employers consider Singaporeans fairly for vacancies. The agencies will need to fulfil this and other new conditions to be licensed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) from 1st October 2020 onwards, said MOM in a statement on 22nd June 2020 (Monday). It added that employment agencies with good hiring practices will be chosen as "placement partners", to help local job seekers secure jobs and traineeships under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. This comes as the Government moves to strengthen job opportunities for Singaporeans amid the more difficult labour market conditions as a result of COVID-19. >> Read More

News Recap - 13 Jun to 19 Jun

19 Jun 2020
1. MOM issues fines, orders closure of workplaces for failing to comply with SMM The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued 52 fines and ordered seven workplaces to cease operations over lapses in Safe Management Measures (SMM) as at Monday (15th June) afternoon, following the lifting of Circuit Breaker measures earlier this month. Six of the workplaces ordered to close were found to have many employees on site despite them being able to do their work at home, while the seventh was due to multiple lapses in implementing said measures.  >> Read More   2. All workers in dorm must activate contact tracing app by Friday MOM stated that all workers staying in dormitories will have to download and activate the national contact tracing app TraceTogether by Friday. The requirement applies to work permit and S Pass holders in the construction, marine and process sectors. From Saturday, being registered on TraceTogether will become one of the criteria workers have to meet on SGWorkPass – another app – in order to be allowed to leave their dormitories and go to work. >> Read More   3. Migrant workers to remain in dormitories on rest days in Phase 2 of reopening To prevent a wave of new COVID-19 infections, migrant workers will continue staying within their dormitories on their rest days as Singapore moves to Phase 2 of its reopening. The Ministry of Health (MOH) added that when the infection rates in the community as well as the dormitories can be “sustained at lower levels for a longer period of time”, workers at cleared dormitories and blocks will have the opportunity to leave their dormitories to run personal errands at approved locations. >> Read More   4. More long-term pass holders can return, but need prior approval More long-term pass holders can return to Singapore during phase two of the country’s reopening, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. But they have to get prior approval before entering Singapore, although the authorities have gradually approved more applications as the situation improves – especially for those with deep roots here or facing exigent circumstances, he added. Mr Wong said government agencies, in particular the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), have received appeals and are working their way through the list. >> Read More   5. “Stay Healthy, Go Digital” Campaign by IMD With the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent implementation of the circuit breaker, Infocomm Media Development & Authority (IMDA) launched the “Stay Healthy, Go Digital” campaign in March 2020 to help businesses in different sectors cope with the changes in the business environment. The campaign aims to help businesses to remain operational by adopting digital solutions, when a substantial amount of the workforce is now working from home (WFH). Solutions which are very useful for this period includes Remote Working Tools, Laptop-bundles, and Temperate Taking solutions. Additionally, the solutions found within this campaign are either priced “Free”, “For a Limited-Time Offer” or “Supported by the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)”. To help alleviate the financial concerns of adopting these solutions, the PSG support has also been increased from 70% to 80% until 31st December 2020. For more information on the campaign, please click here. For a curated suite of technology solutions, please refer to the Digital Solutions Directory or SME Portal.

News Recap - 06 Jun to 12 Jun

12 Jun 2020
1. Strong monitoring, meritocratic government, tech abilities aided Singapore’s battle against COVID-19 Strong monitoring and detection, a meritocratic government and a “high degree” of technological sophistication helped make Singapore one of the safest places to live during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those qualities helped Singapore execute effective quarantines as well as social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing, the Deep Knowledge Group survey of 200 countries and territories said. The report credits Singapore’s use of location data, video camera footage and the app TraceTogether, which tracks and records close encounters with infected people, for helping to contain the virus.  >> Read More   2. 5,500 migrant workers from 40 dorms approved to resume work in Singapore Some 5,500 migrant workers from 40 dormitories here were cleared to resume working from 9 June 2020, Tuesday, following the completion of necessary preparations. They were among the first batch of 60 dormitories that the Government declared clear of COVID-19 infection last week. The remaining 20 dormitories are still in the process of making the necessary arrangements that would allow their residents to resume work. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also said that another 30 dormitories were added to the COVID-free list on Tuesday. These 30 dormitories include a purpose-built dormitory (PBD), 14 blocks of recovered workers in eight PBDs, and 29 factory converted dormitories (FCDs) and construction temporary quarters (CTQs). Once they make the necessary preparations as instructed by the Government, their 8,400 migrant workers will be able to return to work. >> Read More   3. Singapore chatbot helps doctors monitor migrant workers’ health in real time A chatbot powered with artificial intelligence technology has been put to use at six migrant worker dormitories in Singapore, to allow doctors to monitor residents’ health in real time and intervene quickly when necessary. The platform, named SGDormBot, was developed by National University Health System (NUHS) in partnership with AI health care start-up, Bot MD. Using widely available social messaging applications such as WhatsApp, the bot reminds infected residents in the dorms to monitor their temperature, heart rate and oxygen levels, using their native language. The bot also sends NUHS clinicians a text message alert whenever there are abnormal vital signs reported, allowing them to intervene quickly through remote consultations. >> Read More   4. 12 Practical Ways Remote Workers Can Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle While working from home is a great fit for many people, it comes with its own set of challenges. Remote workers are usually operating from their own desks at home. Without intending to, they can fall into a very sedentary lifestyle that could lead long-term negative health consequences. Here are 12 tips shared by Forbes to keep moving and stay healthy, all while working from homes: 1.    Add exercise to calendar 2.    Make self-care a priority 3.    Make exercise more productive 4.    Find ways to be active while working 5.    Maximise technology 6.    Use a fitness tracker 7.    Try an online timer 8.    Stand and walk in place 9.    Take breaks away from desk 10.    Set clear boundaries 11.    Mark meetings that allow for walking 12.    Find activities that motive you Click here to read the tips in detail.   5. WSH Alert Accident Advisory There were 2 advisories issues by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council between last Saturday and today. Grace period of 2 months for mandatory Safety and Health Management System (SHMS) audits upon resumption of workplace operation With the phased and controlled resumption of work activities announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce, workplaces with mandatory SHMS audits due during the Circuit Breaker period will be allowed to have the audit conducted within 2 months from the resumption of workplace operation. For example, workplaces that resumed operation on 2 June 2020 must conduct the next mandatory SHMS audit by 2 August 2020. Please click here to read the full bulletin. Accident Notification: Worker fell off parapet wall On 2 June 2020, two workers were carrying out repair works on a sawdust extractor that was positioned next to a parapet wall. To reach the side of the extractor, one of the workers stood on the parapet wall, lost his footing and fell 12 metres to the ground. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Please click here to read the full notification.

News Recap - 30 May to 05 Jun

05 Jun 2020
1. Employers seeking levy rebates must let MOM deploy foreign workers Employers will have to let the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) move their foreign workers to different dormitories or work at another company in need of manpower, in order to get the foreign worker levy rebates announced in the Fortitude Budget. In a statement given last Saturday, MOM said that in view of the support given, employers must also continue paying the salaries of foreign workers who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 situation.  >> Read More   2. Work pass holders urged to follow safe distancing rules or risk having pass revoked The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) stated on 1 June 2020, Monday, that it would be taking actions against work pass holders caught flouting COVID-19 measures. Measures include wearing a mask in public and observing safe distancing rules. MOM said that Singaporeans and foreigners alike have been penalised for flouting the rules. MOM reminded work pass holders (foreigners holding EPs, S passes and work permits) to take the rules seriously for their own protection and for the safety of the community. >> Read More   3. Three workplaces asked to stop operations for not adhering to SMM Three workplaces have been asked to cease operations for not putting in place adequate safe management measures (SMM) to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The three workplaces were among more than 200 inspected by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) over the last two days, as businesses resumed operations following Singapore’s exiting of the “circuit breaker” on 1 June 2020, Monday. MOM first shared its requirements for SMM at the workplace on 9 May 2020. The three workplaces censured did not ensure that adequate SMM were put in place, which include instructing all employees to return to work in the office, instead of making provisions to allow employees to continue working from home. >> Read More   4. WSH Alert Accident Advisory There were 4 advisories issues by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council between last Saturday and today. Working safely at height after Circuit Breaker Working at height has always been a key concern for workplace safety and health (WSH). From 2 June 2020, Singapore has gradually reopened its economic activities and allowed selected businesses to resume operations. This resumption of work includes construction projects that cannot be left unattended and or are time sensitive, such as, suspended residential renovation works. In the impending resumption of construction activities, the WSH Council urges employers to remind their workers on the importance of safety when working at height, including workers operating Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) and/or construction hoists. Please click here to read the full bulletin Accident Notification: Worker caught between lorry and forklift On 28 May 2020, a worker was within his forklift, attempting to open the door of a lorry that was beside his forklift, when the forklift suddenly reversed, trapping the worker between the door of the lorry and the chassis of the forklift. The injured worker was conveyed to the hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries. Please click here to read the full notification. Accident Advisory: Worker fatally injured by machine door On 24 February 2020, two workers were on a work platform carrying out maintenance works on a scrap metal machine when the overhead door closed downwards and struck both of them. One worker was fatally pinned between the door and the work platform. The other worker sustained minor injuries. Please click here to read the recommendations and risks assessments. Accident Advisory: Worker fell from aircraft during maintenance work On 22 December 2019, a worker overseeing maintenance works on an aircraft fell from the door of the aircraft to the ground. The worker was sent to the hospital where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries on 3 January 2020. Please click here to read the recommendations and risks assessments.

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.  >> Read More   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 >> Read More   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. >> Read More   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.

9 May to 15 May

15 May 2020
1. Implementing SafeEntry and Safe Management Practices The Multi-Ministry Taskforce had earlier announced a set of safe management practices and technologies for individuals and businesses to adopt to support the safe and gradual resumption of normal activities. As announced previously, businesses and services that are in operation must come on board SafeEntry to log the check-in of employees and visitors. As a start, deployment will be made mandatory for places where individuals are likely to be in close proximity for prolonged periods. To date, SafeEntry has been deployed at over 16,000 premises. The list of facilities/places where SafeEntry must be deployed is found in this Annex. The list will be updated here as more activities and services resume.  >> Read More   2. Leveraging Medical Technologies to Monitor Health of Foreign Workers More Effectively The Inter-agency Task Force (ITF) had announced that it will focus on three phases to ensure the health and well-being of workers residing in dormitories. In the first phase, safe distancing measures were implemented in dormitories. Works in essential services were relocated so as to reduce the density and thus the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the dormitories. They were also progressively tested so they could continue working safely. In the second phase, a medical support plan, with the necessary infrastructure and personnel, was put in place. Public and private healthcare partners have come together to deliver a layered medical support plan, to ensure access to good and timely medical care in dormitories. The third phase is the recovery phase. The ITF are working out ways to allow recovered workers to resume work safely. At the same time, the ITF is also developing new strategies and ways to monitor the health of the workers effectively. >> Read More   3. Guide to SME Grants and COVID-19 Measures to Support Businesses in Singapore Over 8,500 business entities closed in April and more could go under, as the problem of COVID-19 persists. Much like supporting its citizens, the Singapore government has also introduced support measures to help businesses during these difficult times. The Singapore government is also committed to helping SMEs grow in Singapore. Grants have been made available for SMEs to apply for. Click "Read More" to view the list of support measures and grants that are available. >> Read More   4. WSH Alert Accident Advisory Last week, there were 2 advisories issues by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council. First Quarter 2020 National WSH Statistics The first quarter of 2020 (1Q 2020) saw fewer fatalities, injuries and occupational diseases compared to 4Q 2019. The 12-month rolling fatal injury rate per 100, 000 workers, however, saw an increase from 1.1 in 4Q 2019 to 1.2 in 1Q 2020, given more fatal injuries in the past 6 months than in the first 6 months of 2019. The Construction sector and Transportation and Storage sector were the top contributing sectors to the 12 fatal injuries in 1Q 2020, with 3 cases each. The Construction sector was also the top contributing sector for major injuries with 21 cases, followed by Manufacturing sector with 20 cases. Please click here to view the full bulletin. Accident Advisory: Worker fell from ladder On 6 March 2020, a renovation worker was at a private dwelling to patch the ceiling. He was later found on the floor lying on an A-frame ladder which had toppled. The worker was conveyed to a hospital where he passed away. Please click here to view the Recommendations and Risk Assessment.

2 May 20 to 8 May 20

08 May 2020
1. Easing the tighter circuit breaker measures, preparing for gradual resumption of activity after 1 June 2020 The Multi-Ministry Taskforce will ease some of the tighter circuit breaker measures, which were announced on 21 April 2020, progressively over the coming weeks. At the same time, the Taskforce is preparing for the safe and gradual resumption of economic and community activities after the end of the circuit breaker period on 1 June 2020. They will be tapping on digital solutions, such as the SafeEntry check-in system, and deploying them more pervasively when these activities are resumed.  >> Read More   2. Greater Observance of Safe Distancing Measures in Foreign Worker Housing The Inter-agency Task Force (ITF) has stepped up inspections of foreign worker housing premises to ensure that living conditions are acceptable, and safe distancing measures are adhered to. The Forward Assurance and Support Teams (FAST) have observed that the majority of foreign worker residents across all housing types are adhering to the safe distancing measures implemented at their residences. These include purpose-built dormitories (PBDs), factory-converted dormitories (FCDs), construction temporary quarters (CTQs) and private residential premises (PRPs). >> Read More   3. New cloth masks for all residents as Singapore ramps up production All residents are set to receive locally produced, reusable cloth masks in a third mask distribution exercise. The masks, whose production was ramped up recently, will be more comfortable to wear and have better filtration qualities. Singapore has been building up its supply of new cloth masks and will distribute them to all residents towards the end of the circuit breaker period, which ends on June 1, said Trade Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. >> Read More   4. WSH Alert Accident Advisory Last week, there were 2 advisories issues by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council. 2-month extension for Mandatory Safety and Health Management System (SHMS) In view of the extension to the Circuit Breaker (CB) period, and considering that companies may face challenges in making arrangements for mandatory SHMS audits shortly after the CB period, the Ministry of Manpower will grant a 2-month extension to the expiry date of SHMS audits that expired between 7 April 2020 and 15 June 2020 inclusively. The Singapore Accreditation Council’s accredited Auditing Organisations that are performing the mandatory SHMS and risk management (RM) audits are to note that: Mandatory SHMS audits will be suspended until 1 June 2020; and bizSAFE companies can write to WSH Council for an extension and it will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. WSH Council curated photo library on best practices for machinery safety Amputations remained the second highest type of major injuries at the workplace over the last five years. However, they are often overlooked even though there is about one amputation case every three days. As most of amputation injuries involve the use of machinery, the WSH Council has curated a photo library depicting some of the best practices on Machinery Safety for industry cross-sharing and learning. Contributed by numerous manufacturing companies, these photos showcase machines commonly used in the Metalworking, Food & Beverage Manufacturing and Woodworking sectors, and their practical safety features, to prevent amputation. Members may download the photo library on machinery safety for your company here.
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