With the implementation of the Workforce Vaccination Measures, Singapore’s business landscape is in a better position to ease the current default of work from home (WFH). This will see up to 50% of those who can WFH to return to the office starting from 1 January 2022.
Here are 5 things employees need to know about the easing of WFH default starting 01 January 2022.
#1 Up to 50% Of Employees Can Return To Office
From 1 January 2022, up to 50% of fully vaccinated employees who can work from home are allowed to return to the workplace. Employers must ensure that unvaccinated employees do not return to the workplace unless they have a negative ART administered via a Pre-Event Test (PET) at an MOH-approved COVID-19 test provider 24 hours before the expected end of work.
Employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace and implement flexible working hours.
#2 Social Gatherings At Workplace Not Allowed
In order to reduce physical interaction, there should be no social gatherings at the workplace. Businesses should note that there should also be no cross deployment of staff to multiple worksites. Employers should also avoid organising work-related events and continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace and implement flexible working hours.
#3 Current Limit For Participants At Work-Related Events
Currently, participants in work-related events are capped at 50 persons. This cap will be raised only for events where all participants remain masked and seated, at a safe distance from each other. All participants must also meet the Vaccination-Differentiated SMMs (VDS) requirements.
#4 Extension of VDS
Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) was first implemented on 10 August 2021. The VDS allows fully vaccinated individuals to participate in higher-risk activities and for entry to large-scale events in a safe manner. Unvaccinated individuals with a valid negative pre-event test result or recovered individuals less than 270 days (starting 1 Jan, it will be reduced to 180 days) of infection may also join in.
As more cases of the Omicron have been reported locally, VDS have been extended to more venues and activities to increase the protection for everyone.
The VDS expansion will cover all National Library Board (NLB) Libraries, and selected activities in People’s Association (PA) community clubs and centres. In addition, the concession for unvaccinated individuals to perform a pre-event test (PET) in lieu of being fully vaccinated would be removed with effect on 1 January 2022. These VDS settings will be expanded further in the future.
From 1 February 2022, VDS will be expanded to cover all indoor sports facilities, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), and leisure guests in hotels, hostels and serviced apartments. This includes all events, irrespective of event size, to implement VDS in order to proceed.
Currently, only events with over 50 attendees are required to implement VDS. However, even smaller-sized events can spark transmission that can then spread to wider groups of people, especially in view of the Omicron variant. That said, to minimise disruption to events which are already planned for, the existing concession will be removed only in end January 2022.
#5 Extended Subsidies For RRT
As testing remains keys to early detection and rapid tracing and containment of the virus, the Government will continue to support companies that are required to conduct the mandatory Rostered Routine Testing (RRT), by extending the subsidies till 31 March 2022. Beyond the extended deadline, MOH advises that employers and businesses should start factoring testing costs as part of their normal business operations.
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