May 19, 2020

Singapore: circuit breaker measures for workplaces and stay-home notice requirements

Over the last few weeks, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has continued to enforce lock down measures, also known as “circuit breaker” measures for workplaces and Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements, in order to control the spread of COVID-19. This has led to numerous inspections of workplaces and individual foreign workers. While the vast majority were found to be compliant, many fines and penalties were issued to those who did not meet the requirements to protect their workforce or did not meet the SHN requirements.

What has changed?

At the end of March 2020, 89 Work Passes had been revoked for foreign nationals breaching entry approval and Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements. The threat of fines and sanctions proved to be an effective deterrent as between April 13th and 30th, the MOM conducted 75,000 video calls and inspections on foreign workers and only a further 29 Work Passes were revoked from individuals breaching Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements. These foreign nationals have been permanently banned from working in Singapore and the Work Pass privileges of nine companies have been suspended for failure to ensure that their employees comply with regulations.

Further to the above, between April 7th and May 5th MOM conducted over 15,000 workplace inspections. This resulted in fines totaling 29,000 SGD being issued to 29 workplaces for breaching safe distancing and crowd management measures, failure to conduct temperature screening and correctly addressing the entry of employees and visitors’ entry into the workplace.

Action was also taken against 170 organizations whose activities would be considered “non-essential” and who did not obtain approval to operate during the circuit breaker period. This included fines totaling 16,000 SGD for 16 of those organizations with the remaining receiving strict warnings.

In order to support organizations so they are prepared to resume operations following the circuit breaker period, minimize risk of further spread of the virus and avoid such aforementioned fines and penalties, the MOM, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), will issue advice to cover:

  • Implementation of Safety Management Measures at workplaces
  • Reduction of physical interaction and safe distancing at workplaces
  • Support for contact tracing requirements
  • Requirements for personal protective equipment and observation of good personal hygiene measures to ensure cleanliness of workplace premises
  • Implementation of health checks and protocols to manage potential cases

Who is effected?

This will impact all organizations operating in Singapore.

For further information on the enforcement measures taken by the MOM or by any other government authority in relation to COVID-19, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at 

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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