11 companies were issued fines for failing to ensure work-from-home (WFH) as a default arrangement for employees who are able to do so, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement on Monday (24 May).
This came after MOM’s inspection of over 530 workplaces, which was conducted from 8 May to 21 May.
Under the latest advisory for Safe Management Measures (SMMs) at the workplace issued on 14 May, employers are required to implement WFH as the default arrangement.
MOM stressed that “all employees whose roles can be performed from home must do so”, adding that employers “must provide the necessary facilities and direct their employees to work from home wherever possible”.
The Ministry noted that working on-site is strictly for “employees who are unable to work from home due to the nature of the work”, such as those who requires access to equipment only accessible at the workplace.
Employers who carry out operations on-site must declare their manpower details
To monitor the level of on-site workforce, MOM stated that all employers who carry out operations on-site “must declare their on-site manpower details”.
According to the Ministry, employers are required to declare this information by Friday (28 May), and update the information whenever there are significant changes.
This can be done on the GoBusiness website.
MOM stressed that it is the employer’s “responsibility” to ensure that all employees WFH if they are able to do so, “regardless of the declared number of workers”.
“Enforcement actions will still be taken against the employer, if workers who are able to WFH are found to be working onsite, even if the total number of workers onsite are at or below the declared number of workers,” said the Ministry.
Breaches of workplace SMMs can be reported; identity of whistle-blowers will be kept confidential
In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the workplace, MOM urged all employers and employees to strictly adhere to the latest guidelines.
The Ministry went on to say that whistle-blowers can report breaches of workplace SMMs via the SnapSAFE app.
MOM assured that the identity of whistle-blowers will be “kept strictly confidential”.
“We will be also be increasing inspections of workplaces to ensure that the latest guidelines are properly implemented,” said the Ministry.
Aside from implementing WFH as the default arrangement, the latest SMMs also include:
- Staggering start times and allowing flexible workplace hours
- No cross-deployment across workplaces or worksites
- No social gatherings at the workplace
- Meal breaks must be taken individually and at staggered times
- Masks must be worn in the workplace at all times