In line with stringent distancing measures, employers are now required to ensure staff work from home whenever possible.
A latest update by the multi-ministry task force as reported by The Straits Times (ST) reveals that firms who fail to implement proper work from home procedures are liable to face penalties.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is looking to update legislation such that penalties will be in the form of stop-work orders and fines.
According to Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo, many firms in the central business district still call for 60% of staff to work from office.
She said that telecommuting is a critical part of safe distancing, and added:
There is a lot of scope for us to do more, especially the private sector firms.
As such, MOM will be enforcing more stringent measures in the weeks to come.
However, she also acknowledged that working from home is not always feasible for companies — which is why the government will look for evidence to assess if firms seriously considered work from home arrangements, before undertaking a “measured approach” to mete out penalties.
She explained that the important question to ask is whether firms can do more, and expressed,
I should say it’s not our intention to simply issue a stop-work order without considering the circumstances of the companies.
To date, there has been 3 Covid-19 deaths in Singapore. All 3 patients were above the age of 60, which shows that seniors are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Hence, the task force also urged members of the public to keep the elderly safe and highlighted the importance of safe distancing, especially towards this vulnerable group.
According to National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also the co-chair of the task force,
If Singaporeans all come together to truly take to heart all these safe distancing measures, we have a good chance of slowing down the virus.
Let’s all try to see the sense in his words and take safe distancing seriously. If not for our own sake, we should do it for the elderly — who suffer much worse when afflicted. Practise responsible safe distancing today.
Featured image adapted from Flickr.
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