All workplaces except for those providing essential services and those able to operate remotely will be suspended from April 7 to May 4 during a month-long “circuit breaker” campaign to curb further spread of COVID-19. Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said, “we need all premises to close”. “None of those workplace activities should continue,” she added.
Companies able to conduct business operations while their employees work from home will be allowed to continue running. Otherwise, operations will have to be reduced or to cease completely, she said. Employers that fail to comply with these new regulations could be jailed or fined under the Infectious Diseases Act. Mrs Teo said that employers should start discussing work arrangements with their workers.
In a separate press release, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that its officers will begin enforcement operations on April 7 to ensure that only businesses that are exempted from the suspension are operating from their workplaces. “For employers who cannot work from home or at their workplace premises, employers should work out with them clear salary and leave arrangement, based on the principle of shared responsibility,” the ministry wrote. “Such arrangements should take into consideration the government support for wages and any subsidies for training.”
The “circuit breaker” move was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday. He announced that only companies that offer essential services or are strategic to the economy will be allowed to continue.