The government earlier announced that only fully-vaccinated workers, or those who have recovered from Covid-19 within a stipulated period, may return to the office next year.
However, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has further relaxed the rules today (December 14) to allow 50 per cent of employees who are able to work from home to return to the office from 1 January 2022.
It reasoned that Singapore was in a “better position to ease the current default work-from-home posture”.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said at a press conference held by the national Covid-19 task force that the Government was considering removing the concession for unvaccinated persons to return to worksites with a negative Covid-19 test.
“It does have implications for employers and workers, and that’s why we are consulting and discussing with our tripartite partners on this particular move and we will provide more details when the arrangements are finalised,” said Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force.
MOH added that there would also be more relaxed measures for work-related events, with the present cap of 50 being raised for certain events.
Participants at these events, however, must remain masked and seated at a safe distance from one another, and they must all be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 within a stipulated period.
Social gatherings at the workplace, however, will continue to be banned, said MOH, adding that more details would be released separately.
It added that testing remains key to early detection and rapid tracing and containment of virus transmission, especially in light of the new Omicron variant.
As such, the government will extend subsidies for companies with employees that are required to go for mandatory rostered testing. The subsidies, which were to end on December 31, would be available until March 31 next year.
“Beyond that, employers and businesses should be prepared to factor in testing costs as part of their normal business operations,” said MOH.
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Featured Image Credit: Ed Jones via AFP