On 7 October 2022, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) updated the advisory on Covid-19 vaccination at the workplace following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s announcement that the Vaccination Differentiated Safe Management Measures (“VDS”) would be fully lifted from 10 October 2022.
With the lifting of VDS, the tripartite partners (MOM, Singapore National Employers Federation, and National Trades Union Congress) are of the view that employers should remove vaccination-differentiated requirements for access to the workplace.
However, if there are genuine occupational requirements, employers, taking into consideration the workplace health and safety and operational needs of their business, may continue implementing vaccination-differentiated requirements for their employees to access the workplace (such as deploying only vaccinated individuals), as a matter of company policy and in accordance with employment law. It is important for employers to communicate clearly the rationale and details of the company’s policies to affected employees, if they wish to continue implementing such vaccination-differentiated company policies. Employers should engage their employees and unions (where applicable), to avoid potential disputes, and consider the necessary duration for which, and the specific roles or settings in which, they choose to maintain such policies.
For unvaccinated employees whose jobs require working on-site as determined by the employers under such a company policy, employers may:
- redeploy them to other suitable jobs if such jobs are available, with remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities of the alternative jobs; or
- place them on no-pay leave based on mutually agreeable terms; or
- as a last resort, after exploring the options above, terminate their employment (with notice) in accordance with the employment contract. If the termination of employment is due to employees’ inability to be at the workplace to perform their contracted work, such termination of employment would not be considered as wrongful dismissal.
Employers are encouraged to facilitate vaccination (including vaccination booster shots) by granting paid time-off to employees to receive their shots, and additional paid sick leave (beyond contractual or statutory requirements) in the rare event an employee experiences a vaccine-related adverse reaction.