The banking sector is the largest employer in Singapore. Amid the COVID-19 which has wrecked havoc on the economy, Singapore banks have pledged to not retrench their employees.
“While these are clearly challenging times for all, DBS recognises the key role that we play in support of employees, customers, shareholders and the community. Our capital and liquidity positions are strong,” as stated by Piyush Gupta, who is the CEO of Singapore’s largest bank, DBS.
He added that “Given the resilience of our franchise, we do not envisage having to undertake any retrenchment exercise because of the Covid-19 situation.”
Similarly, OCBC does not plan on laying off employees amid this outbreak, according to an OCBC staff memo sent by the CEO, Samuel Tsien on 24 March, which The Business Times got access to.
Mr Tsien penned to OCBC staff: “Each of you is not just an employee of OCBC. Each of you has a family that we consider them as part of our extended family.”
UOB has also expressed the same commitment to retain jobs during this time, as stated by its CEO to BT. An additional day of leave for employees has been provided by UOB to be taken over the next six weeks. In addition to this, shortened and staggered work hours have also been introduced by the bank.
Mr Wee remarked: “For our people, we are committed to seeing them through to better times. While we have adjusted our hiring plans for the year, we do not plan to conduct retrenchment exercises at this point in time as a result of Covid-19.”
UOB will continue to offer the full range of banking services for its customers as well as keeping its people safe during this period, he added. Also, the bank tries to arrange for remote working from home for as many of its employees as possible, whereas the remaining office-bound workers will need to adhere to precautionary and safe-distancing measures.
Not only that, Mr Wee also assured: “We have also given each one of our colleagues a box of 50 face masks for their personal use and have put together for them an online training programme which builds resilience and a growth mindset. We are focused on riding out these extraordinarily difficult times together and being prepared for the future.”
“As the Covid-19 pandemic affects more people globally, UOB remains focused on doing our part to protect the well-being of our colleagues, customers and the community. We continue to monitor the situation closely and have been proactive in stepping up our precautionary measures based on the latest advice from the authorities,” Mr Wee concluded.
The Singapore banks followed in the footstep of other global banks such as Visa, Morgan Stanley and Citi in their commitment to retain jobs despite the ailing economy caused by COVID-19. The three banking giants employ more than 80,000 workers globally, with the bulk of them working in the home markets of Singapore.
With the circuit-breaker measures in place, businesses have shut down their operations in the country. This is to ensure contain the spread of COVID-19 by getting more people to remain at home. Also, banks have shut several branches nationwide due to the lower footfall and also to safeguard the welfare of their workers.
As at 12pm on Wednesday (8 April), there were a total of 1,623 cases of the virus. There were 142 new cases reported, with 140 being local cases. Also, 406 patients have fully recovered.
On Wednesday, a 32-year old died at his residence and the cause of death was confirmed to be COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health.
The deceased was a male indian national who was also a long-term pass holder in the country, and he had been tested for COVID-19 the day before his death. Investigations are ongoing. In Singapore, six deaths have been confirmed to be caused by the complications related to COVID-19.