Posted on 20/04/2020 by PrimeHR
The recent rise in the number of foreign workers infected with COVID-19 has been mostly concentrated in dormitories. However, contact tracing suggests that transmissions at common construction worksites may have contributed to the increase in numbers. Thus far, the cases detected among workers living outside the dormitories have been low. All those infected and their close contacts have been isolated.
As a precautionary move, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will require all work permit holders and S Pass holders in the construction to be placed on mandatory stay-home notices (SHNs). This is to ensure that there is no further interactions between the workers and those outside their residential premises for two weeks.
This SHN for all workers in the Construction Sector who are holding work permits or S Passes will take effect on 20 April and end on 4 May 2020 (both dates inclusive). The Dependant Pass holders of these workers are also to be placed on SHN.
The SHN applies to all workers and their dependents in any place of accommodation, or any place which is converted into a place of accommodation on a temporary basis, or otherwise. It excludes those staying in any dormitory gazetted as an isolation area, or any foreign employee dormitory as defined in the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act 2015, as special arrangements have already been catered for them.
MOM is implementing this requirement on all workers in the Construction Sector as the highest number of infected cases have come from this sector and worksite transmissions have been a contributing factor. The SHNs will help prevent further transmission of the virus between workers in the sector, across all housing types.
Employment pass (EP) holders are generally less exposed to the worksites and live in non-communal premises.
Employers who have workers affected by the SHN are required to make arrangements for these workers during the SHN period, including the provision of food and to take care of their well-being. The workers are advised to immediately consult a doctor if they are unwell.
During the SHN period, MOM enforcement officers will conduct regular checks on the workers to ensure compliance to SHN requirements. Employers are required to ensure that the addresses and mobile numbers of their foreign employees registered with MOM are up-to-date. MOM will take strict enforcement measures against errant employers or employees who do not comply with the SHN requirements, including the suspension of work pass privileges and revocation of work passes. This is necessary to protect the health and safety of the larger community.
Employers are also required to check on the health of their foreign employees on SHN daily for reporting to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). Employers should advise their workers to seek medical attention promptly if they display any symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, runny nose). On top of checking their own temperature twice daily, workers are also encouraged to monitor the health of their housemates and encourage them to see a doctor if they feel unwell.
EXEMPTION FOR FOREIGN WORKERS CARRYING OUT ESSENTIAL SERVICES
Employers may seek exemption from BCA for their employees to be allowed to carry out essential services such as vector control. The number of foreign workers granted such exemption to leave their places of residence to perform essential services only may be capped at BCA’s discretion.