COVID-19: Singapore Business Owners To Declare On-Site Manpower Details
In recent weeks, towkays in Singapore have been receiving notifications from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) requesting them to update their on-site staff numbers once again, so that the Government is aware of how many people are not working from home.
This requirement was put in place last year but was suspended in April 2021 when Singapore was progressively shifting away from working from home as a default. However, the recent spate of new Covid-19 cases in Singapore have led to us going back to Phase 2 (heightened alert) status until 13 June 2021 and working from home is mandated once more.
What is Postman.gov.sg?
As the Government quickly clarified, Postman.gov.sg is a legitimate mass notifications tool that is used to send out mass communications to the public quickly and effectively. Developed by GovTech’s Open Government Products (OGP) together with the team at the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) last year, this tool is meant to update citizens with crucial information rapidly and at scale so that they will not fall prey to misinformation and fake news, especially about the coronavirus pandemic.
Using Postman.gov.sg, the Gov.sg WhatsApp channel was able to send a million messages within 22 minutes. This was an unprecedented feat by a government, and sets a good example for leaders of countries across the world on how they can disseminate accurate public health information to control the pandemic.
More information on Postman.gov.sg can be found on their website.
How to update on-site manpower numbers
Firms can update their on-site manpower numbers on the Government's GoBusiness online portal.
Below are the steps that you should take:
Step 1: Click on “Email” and enter the company’s email address. Click on the green tick to confirm.
Step 2: Select “Submit Manpower”.
Do note that business entities can resume operations only if their business activity is in line with the activity described in the permitted SSIC code or if your General Exemption approval has been granted for specific activities. The full list of permitted services allowed to resume operations can be found here.
Step 3: Fill in the total number of employees/workers working on site, as well as the maximum number of said employees/workers who will be on-site at any given time.
Once you have submitted the requisite information, you should be receiving an email as shown below.
Duty to minimise number of employees working on-site
All employees who are able to work from home must do so. This is a directive that is taken very seriously, as shown by the Ministry of Manpower conducting frequent inspections and having fined 11 companies recently for failing to comply with the requirement.
Apart from implementing work from home arrangements, employers must ensure that adequate safe management measures are in place at all times for employees who are on-site. These include:
• Staggering start times and allowing flexible workplace hours;
• No cross-deployment across workplaces or worksites;
• No social gatherings at work;
• Meal breaks must be taken alone and at staggered time; and
• Masks must be worn at the workplace at all times.
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