Covid-19: Update on HR and Travel Regulations in Singapore

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published on 22 Ocotber 2020 | reading approx. time 3,5 minutes

  

  

  

 

Travel Pass Scheme for Senior Business Executives

On 23 September 2020, the Ministry of Health announced that a new business travel pass scheme for senior executives with regional or international responsibilities, who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes, is being piloted in Singapore.
 
The travel pass scheme will give senior business executives returning to Singapore from overseas trips the option to take a covid-19 test, and self-isolate until the results are out, instead of receiving a stay-home notice.
 
The Ministry of Health specified that the number of travel passes will initially be strict-ly limited, and those using them will have to abide by a strictly controlled itinerary. The travel pass scheme will not be country-specific, allowing for individuals to travel to a wide range of countries.

 

Return to office 

Whilst working from home remains the default mode of working, as of 28 September 2020, em-ployees who are able to work from home may also return to the workplace if they wish - and provid-ed their employer consents -, or as directed by their employer. Employers may require their em-ployees to return to the office even if the job can be performed from home and employees prefer doing so.
 
However, employers must ensure, inter alia, that:

  • employees who are able to work from home continue to do so for at least half of their work-ing time;
  • no more than half of the employees who are able to work from home are to be at the work-place at any given point in time; and
  • special attention is paid to vulnerable employ-ees such as pregnant employees,
  • those above 60 years of age, patients who are immunocompromised or have concurrent med-ical conditions. Employers should consider en-abling such employees to work from home or redeploy them to other roles more suited for telecommuting on a temporary basis.
  • Conferences, seminars, corporate retreats, staff training sessions, AGM and EGM may proceed subject to the following requirements:
    – adhering to prevailing workplace management measures;
    – limiting participants to 50 persons;
    – maintaining at least 1 meter safe dis-tancing between participants; and
    – ideally not serve drinks or food.

Work Pass Requirements

Employment Pass

As of 1 September 2020, the Ministry of Manpow-er (MOM) has raised the minimum qualifying salary for Employment Pass (EP) application from SGD 3,900 to SGD 4,500 per month. The thresh-old for older and more experienced candidates will be raised correspondingly. The qualifying salary for older and more experienced candidates in their 40s will be raised correspondingly and will remain around double the minimum qualifying salary for the youngest applicants. For EP renewal applicants, the new qualifying salary thresholds will apply as of 1 May 2021.
 

Financial Services Sector

The MOM has introduced a sector specific higher qualifying salary for the financial services sector. The new salary requirement for EP applicants taking effect from 1 September 2020, extends to the financial services sector. However, from 1 December 2020, the minimum qualifying salary for EP candidates in the financial services sector will be raised to SGD 5,000 for new applications.
 

S-Pass

As of 1 October 2020, the minimum qualifying salary for new S Pass applicants will be raised from SGD 2,400 to SGD 2,500.
 
As of 1 October 2020, employers will generally* be required to advertise job vacancies on MyCareersFuture and consider all candidates fairly before submitting any application for an S Pass. Until now, employers were generally* solely required to advertise job vacancies before submitting any application for an EP.  


*Employers are exempted from advertising job vacancies if: (a) the company has fewer than 10 employees; or (b) the fixed monthly salary for the vacancy is SGD 20,000 or more; or (c) the vacan-cy is filled by an intra-corporate transferee; or (d) the vacancy is short term – less than 1 month.

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