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Employers who force workers to take no-pay leave for stay-home notice or leave-of-absence will be penalised: MOM

SINGAPORE — Employers who force their workers to take no-pay leave when they have not enough annual leave for the 14-day stay-home notice or leave-of-absence mandated by the authorities could have their privileges to apply for work passes suspended.

Employers who force workers to take no-pay leave for stay-home notice or leave-of-absence will be penalised: MOM

If employers wish to implement leave of absence for staff members who have not travelled to China lately, they are expected to pay these employees their full salaries during the leave of absence, the Ministry of Manpower said.

SINGAPORE — Employers who force their workers to take no-pay leave when they have not enough annual leave for the 14-day stay-home notice or leave of absence mandated by the authorities could have their privileges to apply for work passes suspended.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that this also applies to those who ask workers who have not travelled to China lately to take leave.

In a now-deleted post on online forum Reddit, user “seafoodcrap” shared that his former colleague was told by his firm that it would be enforcing leave of absence on employees after they return from their travels, regardless of which country it is.

The 14-day leave of absence will be deducted from their annual leave or no-pay leave up until June, the person said.

In response to this account, an MOM spokesperson told TODAY on Friday (Feb 21) that the ministry expects employers to be reasonable and adopt fair employment practices.

Employees who have encountered such cases are urged to report the matter to MOM for further action.

From 11.59pm on Tuesday, Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from China will have to abide by a stay-home notice, which forbids them from leaving their house for 14 days.

This is stricter than the leave of absence that was mandated before the stay-home notice came into force. For leave of absence, returnees are advised to stay at home for 14 days, but are still allowed to leave home briefly, to buy meals or household supplies, for instance.

“For employees who do not have recent travel history to mainland China, they should not be asked to stay away from the workplace,” the MOM spokesperson said.

If employers wish to implement leave-of-absence for these staff members, employers are expected to pay these employees their full salaries during the leave-of-absence, the spokesperson added.

During this period of the Covid-19 virus outbreak, employers are encouraged to adopt flexible working arrangements for employees who are issued leave of absence or stay-home notices, such as getting them to telecommute or teleconference to allow them to work from home.

“If working from home is not possible, employers should provide additional paid leave for the leave of absence or stay-home-notice period without requiring the employees to use their original paid leave entitlements under their employment contract,” MOM said.

Those who grant extra paid leave for this group of workers can apply for financial assistance under the leave-of-absence support programme the ministry provides.

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Wuhan virus coronavirus Covid-19 stay-home notice MOM

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