Singapore requires office-workers to be vaccinated, few exemptions

Get vaccinated or lose your job. That’s the thrust of new workplace laws being introduced in Singapore. From today an earlier concession, allowing negative-testing employees to keep working in offices, is dropped.

Employers now have the option to redeploy unvaccinated staff to ‘working from home’ duties, put the staff on leave without pay, or simply sack them if they are unable to do their specified jobs from home. There are few exemptions.

The island state has some of the world’s highest vaccination rates and has taken a tough stance against the unvaccinated. Already, people without Covid vaccines have been barred from entering restaurants and shopping malls in an effort to prevent the possible over-burdening of Singapore hospitals. They’ve also been encouraging workers back from earlier work-from-home options and slowly easing restrictions.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health’s says that, as of January 2, 98% of Singapore’s workforce is vaccinated against Covid-19. Spokesperson Rahayu Mahzam says that the campaign to get Singaporean workers vaccinated as been a success.

“A fully vaccinated workforce would be able to operate more safely.”

She also said that two-thirds of beds in Singaporean intensive care units “have been taken up by people who are not inoculated”.

But there are still laws protecting the jobs of Singaporeans who end up with a wrongful termination, although the Governments says that, if staff are sacked because of an employee is unable to attend their workplace to perform their contracted work, it would not be considered as wrongful dismissal.

“Those medically ineligible for vaccines will still be allowed in offices. Still, employers should consider allowing them to work from home if they can do so.”

“Employers should not terminate the employment of medically-eligible but unvaccinated pregnant employees and are strongly encouraged to give special consideration to their needs and concerns.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Straits Times

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Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.