COVID-19: Singapore Employment Update

The coronavirus brought Singapore the social economic impact of ongoing pandemic likely to have a significant impact on the local economy. On 17 February 2020, the ministry of trade and industry downgraded Singapore fore case gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between -0.5% and 1.5%. This is largely due to a slowdown in Singapore export markets, disruptions in global supply chains, a fall in tourism and a fall in domestic consumption. On 26 March 2020, Singapore ministry of trade and industry said it believed that the economy shrank some 2.2% in the first quarter of 2020 from the same quarter in 2019. Coronavirus also affects impact on stocks. On 9 March 2020, the straits times index fell 6.03% owing to the impact of coronavirus, made worse but the oil price war. The index dropped again three days later by 3.8% after more measures are announced with the world health organization declaring a pandemic.  Find More Detail at Wikipedia

Covid 2019-2020 episode of a limited outbreak of human to human transmission of coronavirus shows how compact our world has become and how fast and wide-ranging am infectious disease could spread. Indeed, in today’s highly interconnected world, the spread of infectious diseases has emerged as a major challenge to global security. If a pandemic occurs, millions of people could fall ill or die. The fallout could ripple across countries over a prolonged period of time. For this reason, the health community is concerned with outbreaks of coronavirus among poultry and its sporadic infections of humans in recent years. If the coronavirus mutates further, it could eventually result in a pandemic strain. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019. The world health organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020 and recognized it as pandemic on 11 March. As of 30 March 2020, more than 741.00 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 190 countries and territories, resulting in approximately 35,000 deaths. More than 156,500 people have since recovered. 

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In addition, it severely affected airline. Ministry of manpower (MOM) approval should be obtained before their flights to Singapore are to be confirmed. Employers have the responsibility to ensure that upon entering Singapore, their foreign employees together with their dependents observe the 14-days stay-home notice requirements provided by the MOH. Foreign employees who are In-principle approval holders will need to complete their stay-home notice before getting their work passes issued. Extensions of their short-term visit passes and In-principle approval can be requested from the MOM. The government of Singapore are also providing medical benefits for employees. Employers should consider providing additional medical coverage to the affected employee during this period. If an employee still proceeds for non-work related and non-essential travel, the employer may require the employee to use his own annual leave entitlements to cover the duration of any quarantine and self-isolation period imposed by the destination country. 


From 12 March 2020, Singapore registered employers with 10 or more employees must notify the MOM of any cost-saving measures affecting employee’s salaries within seven (7) calendar days from implementation. This would not include adjustments to discretionary payment such as bonuses and increments. If the salaries of foreign employees on work passes are affected, employers would have to seek the MOM’s approval on the salary adjustments before implementation. And the ministry of manpower (MOM) will introduce further measures to help businesses cope during this period. MOM will provide three-month extension of the levy payment timeline to small-and-medium size enterprises with immediate effect. In total, SMEs will have up to 5 months to pay for the foreign worker levy from the month it is incurred before revocation action kicks in. For more flexibility in their cash-flow management and Man-Year-Entitlement (MYE) refund for construction firms affected by disruption arising from COVID-19, with effect from 1 April 2020. 

Practise social distancing MOM

The Singapore government will provide the technologies by government around the world are aimed at identifying where infected people are and monitoring isolation. Countries and cities around the world have been locked down, a move that looks to encourage “social distancing” and reduce the transmission between people. In Singapore, the government rolled out an app called “Trace Together”. It uses Bluetooth signals between cellphones to see if potential carries of the coronavirus have been in close contact with other people. 

Singapore government is looking for ways to explain and apply the principle of transparency. It will take 14 days for Singaporeans to return home to be quarantined, and the government provides hand sanitizer and disinfectants in every shopping center and every corner. If foreign employees have violated the code then their work permit will be cancelled and will not be able to work further in Singapore anymore. Not only that, those employees’ employers are not allowed to hire foreign employees from foreign countries. Nobody knows when the next flu will occur again. We must prevent all potential diseases that may occur, because “prevention is better than cure”. Protecting yourself and providing your collaboration to first-line manpower are greatest contribution to the country. 


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