From 5 April, work-from-home no longer default; more allowed back at workplaces

People seen in the Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
People seen in the Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — From 5 April, Singapore-based companies will be allowed to have up to 75 per cent – up from the current 50 per cent – of their employees back at their workplaces at any one time.

These were among the updated COVID-19 regulations for workers unveiled at a multi-ministry taskforce press conference on Wednesday (24 March), the first such event in two months.

"We will shift to a more flexible and hybrid way of working. And that means we will allow more employees who are presently working from home, to be able to go back to the workplace," said Education Minister and taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong.

Among the new measures are a lifting of the cap on the number of hours an employee can spend at his or her workplace, and making split team arrangements no longer mandatory. Restrictions against the cross-deployment of staff across workplaces will remain, however.

Social and recreational gatherings for employees, such as team bonding events, will also be allowed but must be limited to groups of no more than eight people. In a separate press release, the Ministry of Health (MOH) cautioned that meals should not be the main feature of work-related events, and companies should refrain from holding events over mealtimes as far as possible.

Wong, however, stressed that employers should continue to stagger start times and implement flexible working hours.

He also reminded employers to implement all prevailing safe management measures. These include regular cleaning of common spaces, demarcating safe physical distancing, and mask-wearing at all times at workplaces.

The MOH said, "Employers also have to be prepared that the situation is a dynamic one. If there is increased risk of COVID-19 resurgence, we will have to adjust our posture and more stringent measures at workplaces will have to be re-introduced."

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