COVID-19 test

QUESTION Dear HR Community Subscribers, We are in the manufacturing industry and we are considering buying COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits for our employees to self-test. We think this is one way of keeping our work environment safe when employees return to the workplace in the future and also that they are keeping themselves well while at home. We also understand that it will be part of the measures to provide incentives to our employees to be vaccinated. Thank you for your inputs. Jeannie     HR Poll: Are you buying COVID-19 test kits for employees? Yes: 18.42% No: 28.95% Maybe: 15.79% Not sure: 36.84%     REPLIES & COMMENTS: What incentives are you providing to ensure employees stay safe? Encourage WFH, implement staggered working hours, and safe distancing for the rest who have to be in the office. – Joanne Not at the moment. – Nina Insurance with coverage of Covid-19 and WFH as much as possible. – YYJ We allow staff to claim under their flex benefits dollar. – TSY We provide sanitizers and wipes. – Nadirah Time off to go for vaccination. Allowed to work from home the week after vaccination if vaccination was done on the […]

Covid 19

Employee care package for Covid-19

QUESTION Dear HR Community, I’m intending to provide a one-time care package, which includes cash for all our employees this month and I am looking for ideas on what to offer. These two months would have been difficult for them and the hope is that this package will motivate them when they return to work next month. We are in the construction industry. Have any of you rolled out anything similar? Or perhaps you are planning to? Looking forward to your suggestions. Nur   REPLIES & COMMENTS   Dear Nur We offer 1) Internet and electricity allowance 2) Flexible benefits on office furniture and monitor. 3) Premium payment per occasion for essential employees. The above may not apply to every employee in every country. It varies from country to country. Thanks Sarah     Dear Nur, We provided the following as assistance for our employees: 1.  A bundle of health supplements and antibacterial items 2. Cash to help out with the family expenses like utilities etc 3. Surprise food platter to thank them for their commitment and dedication as food from the heart never fails to engage people around us Marziah    

Terminating Employees During Covid 19

Terminating employees during Covid-19

QUESTION Hi HR friends, We are planning to terminate administrative staff, some of whom have worked with us for 20 years. Can the Company treat it as termination and not pay any retrenchment benefits as we are in red now? Also, the staff are not entitled to retrenchment benefits under their employment contract and we are not unionised. Look forward to your advice, thanks. Anna   REPLIES & COMMENTS   Hi Anna Many organisations are going through the same concerns with their workforce. Please refer to the recent MOM advisories on retrenchment. It may help you formulate a suitable way to handle this. Sharon     Dear Anna MOM has urged employers to provide retrenchment benefits and suggested that employers support the affected employees by providing a lump sum benefit of between one and three months’ salary. Companies badly affected by the pandemic should try to pay a fair package linked to the employee’s years of service. The current practice for retrenchment benefits is between two weeks and one month of salary per year of service. Regards Munjit    

Certified Human Resource Administrator CHRA®

Public holiday leave compensation during lockdown

QUESTION Dear HR Community Hi. I would like to find out more about the compensation for replacement off for public holidays in months of April and May 2020 during this circuit breaker period. For retail staff who are not able to perform work from home duties, and are not working during this period, are they still entitled to the extra day of gazetted public holidays in months of April and May? For retail staff who perform work on certain days for e-commerce online, some days fall on public holidays and some days do not. Are they entitled to all the extra day public holidays replacement off for all of the public holidays that fall in months of April and May; or do we only compensate the extra replacement off for the exact days of public holidays that they work. Please advice. Thank you! Best Regards Evelin   REPLIES & COMMENTS   All employees are entitled to public holiday off. During Circuit Breaker, most retail employees under non-essential are not working (Apr & May) 1. If the employee is going for annual leave during this period, the employer will continue to pay the basic salary only. 2. If the employee is […]

Deferring Compassionate Leave

Deferring compassionate leave

QUESTION Dear HR Community I have a colleague whose father passed away recently in the Philippines. According to our compassionate leave policy, he is entitled to five days of compassionate leave from the date of the demise. However, he is unable to fly home for the bereavement due to the current COVID-19 situation here and has requested that he defers his compassionate leave to the end of June. Please advise if we should consider his request. Thank you so much and hope everyone is safe and healthy. Best Regards Karen   REPLIES & COMMENTS   Dear Karen Deferring any type of leave is at the discretion of the department and HR, and the supervisor may need to consider if the timing will affect any work deadline or alternative work arrangement required, etc. Although SG law does not mandate compulsory compassionate leave, given the COVID-19 exceptional circumstances, the Company should show care and concern to the grieving employee, especially for those with families abroad. Even a delayed bereavement can bring closure and the employee will appreciate the Company’s gesture. Though, it has to be made clear that this exception only applies because of the COVID-19 situation, to avoid abuse of the […]

Reporting Termination During Lockdown

Reporting termination during lockdown

QUESTION Dear HR Community Is it mandatory to report to the authorities if a company practice cost-cutting measures like terminations during this period? We have more than ten full-time staff but some of our employees are hourly rated students. Do we still have to file a report? Thank you. Kuan     REPLY

Salary Payment During Circuit Breaker

Salary payment during circuit breaker

QUESTION Dear HR Community Please advise on the following scenario during the circuit breaker (CB) period for a non-working employee. The employee’s monthly salary is $2,500. The employee has 12 days of annual leave (AL) as of 30 April 2020. The employee’s job is classified as non-essential and hence does not work during the CB period. The employee worked for 4 days before CB period (1 – 6 April). The company pays the employee full salary in April: a) Pays for 4 working days in April, and b) Pays for remaining 17 non-working days in April ( total 21 days in April – 4 = 17 days) by offsetting 12 days of AL, and c) Pays (21 – 4 – 12 = 5) 5 days to the employee as advance pay; putting these 5 days as “time banking”. In summary, the employee receives a full salary of $2,500 in April by offsetting 12 days of AL & 5 days of “time banking” arrangement. Please advise if this arrangement is possible i.e. that the company can offset AL for non-working days for non-essentials sector employee during the CB period. Please also advise if the company can decide on the utilisation and […]

Forced Leave During Covid 19

Forced Leave during COVID-19

QUESTION Dear HR Practitioners, Can an employer force an employee to take annual leave or unpaid leave during COVID-19? Is there a maximum number of days? KL   REPLY   We encourage our employee to use their leave otherwise the no work will be charge as no pay leave. They can use up their leave credits for the rest of the year. However, if they resigned the overused leave will be deducted to their last pay. RA    

Malaysia Mco

Malaysia MCO

QUESTION Dear Fellow HR Practitioners, Do you happen to have any staff who is stuck in Malaysia due to the MCO and unable to return to Singapore? I have a Malaysian staff who is also a Singapore PR and he was on leave from 16 Mar to 24 Mar. However, when the lockdown announced he did not return to Singapore (he commutes daily between Singapore and Johore). Would like to hear from fellow practitioners how should his absence from the 25 Mar onwards till 28 Apr (assuming that the MCO is lifted by then) be treated. Should it be considered as annual leave and in the event that he annual leave is fully utilised, then to place him on no-pay leave (this was our original intention). Or not to deduct any annual leave or no pay leave and grant him additional leave in view of the unforeseen circumstances. Greatly appreciate some advice on how best to manage this situation. Thank You. Best Regards, Susan     REPLY We allow the employee to work from home (in JB) using his personal laptop. This is on condition that his work can be done from home. Regards, Leeann    

Hr Initiatives During Covid 19

HR Initiatives during COVID-19

QUESTION Hi HR Community, I would like to find out how has Covid-19 affected your business and if HR activities has slow down in your organisation? What are some of the initiatives you would like to take the chance to implement? Regards, Sharon   REPLIES & COMMENTS   Due to COVID 19, activities have reversed. It increased so much more because you need to consider doing BCP planning, consider thermal screening as a permanent feature to ensure the workplace is safe, job rotating options and using teleconferencing as a tool for interviewing/inter dept meetings, access to central folders etc. These are things that would never occur during pre-COVID 19. Ayda     My company is a regional and was not too affected by the ‘Circuit breaker’ period as we have had existing flexible working arrangements in place for the past years. We were also up to speed with telecommuting and we had in place the cloud system and all notebooks pre-configured for staff to work from home at any time. During the ‘Circuit Breaker’ when we all had to work from home, we could carry out our respective roles without much problem as using web conferencing was already part and […]

Malaysian Workers During Covid 19

Malaysian Workers During COVID-19

QUESTION Dear Fellow HR practitioners, I would like to seek for your help with this benchmarking with companies in O&G for the following questions: 1. Do you have Malaysian workers opted to stay in Singapore? 2. Type of Accommodation given. 3. How much is the daily allowance given? 4. For those who have provided hotel stay, what is your plan if the Malasia lockdown is prolonged for another month or two? a. are you considering to get an HDB? b. provide them housing allowance and let them find their own bed space? c. convert office facilities to temporary living quarters? Your reply is highly appreciated! Thank you! Rebecca     REPLY   Hi Yes, we do have Malaysian workers now in Malaysia wanting to return to Singapore. We only allow if they are able to find “long term” accommodation as our advice to staff is that in view of evolving outcome of COVID-19, there are too many uncertainties thus the company can arrange stay during “SHN” compliance. However it is not feasible for company to arrange accommodation beyond 14 days SHN, staff need to find a more permanent accommodation before we able to bring them back to SIN. Ong   […]

Leave Arrangements For Covid 19

Leave Arrangements for COVID-19

QUESTION Hi HR Professionals, In view of the current COVID-19 situation, I would like to ask what special arrangements does your company adopt for Sick Leave & Hospitalisation Leave Entitlements? Have you already thought of whether to increase Sick Leave / Hospitalisation Leave entitlement for your staff since the GPs are going to issue 5 days MCs for flu-like symptoms? If fact, we already have our first colleague who was given a 5-day MC. CY     REPLY 1 Employers may adopt flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and teleconferencing, to allow employees on LOA/SHN to work from home. If remote working is not possible, employers are encouraged to provide additional paid leave on top of employees’ annual leave entitlements for the LOA/SHN, especially if the travel was work-related. If that is not feasible, employers can consider the following options, or a combination of the options, for the employees on LOA/SHN: Treat employees’ LOA/SHN as paid hospitalisation leave or paid outpatient sick leave; Allow employees to apply for annual leave; Allow employees to use advanced paid leave or apply for no pay leave, for employees who have used up their leave entitlements; or Other mutually agreed arrangements between the employers […]