Knowledge Highlights 27 October 2021

On 25 September 2021, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”), the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation issued an advisory titled “Advisory on work and leave arrangements for employees who test positive on the Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) but are physically well”. Details are set out below.

Background

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced on 17 September 2021 a revised approach of managing individuals who test positive on the Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (“ART”) but are physically well (i.e. no evident symptoms like fever, cough, or runny nose). Such individuals are advised to self-isolate to monitor their health, instead of rushing to the nearest clinic or hospital, which may risk exposure to other infections. This will allow the use of primary care and other healthcare resources to be focused on Covid-19 patients at higher risk of falling severely ill.

Self-isolation

Employees who are ART-positive but physically well are advised to self-isolate at home for 72 hours. The employee need not take a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”) test after getting the first positive ART result.

After 72 hours of self-isolation, the employee should repeat the ART. If the result is negative, the employee may return to work and daily activities. If the result is positive, the employee should continue to self-isolate and take an ART every 24 hours until a negative ART result is received.

Work and leave arrangements

Employees should immediately inform their employer when they test positive on ART and begin their self-isolation at home. Employers should not ask such employees to report to the workplace. They should be allowed to work from home if they are able to do so. If this is not possible, employers should treat the period of absence as paid sick leave without requiring a medical certificate. Employees should not be asked to take no-pay leave for the period of self-isolation. Employees may return to the workplace when they get a negative ART result after 72 hours.

Employees who are household members of ART-positive but physically well individuals, should monitor their health for 10 days and do regular ART self-tests. Other employees who are workplace close contacts of the ART-positive employee are advised to do the same. There are no movement restrictions on these employees so long as their ART results are negative. They may return to the workplace if they are unable to work from home, but should limit interactions with others as much as possible.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the MOM website www.mom.gov.sg:

 

Further information

Allen & Gledhill has a Covid-19 Resource Centre on our website www.allenandgledhill.com that contains knowhow and materials on legal and regulatory aspects of the Covid-19 crisis. 

In addition, we have a cross-disciplinary Covid-19 Legal Task Force consisting of Partners across various practice areas to provide rapid assistance. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at covid19taskforce@allenandgledhill.com.

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