The Government means business when they say that safe distancing measures must be followed by individuals and businesses alike.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in particular is showing companies that they’re not fooling around amidst the coronavirus outbreak especially when it comes to workplaces.
And of course we’re talking about workplaces that can’t allow telecommuting, because if they can, they should be doing that now.
Another 129 Stop-Work Orders Issued to Companies That Didn’t Have Safe-Distance Measures
According to CNA, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued 129 stop-work orders to workplaces that did not abide by safe distancing measures.
MOM has since carried out a whopping 850 workplace inspections since 23 March.
Apart from the stop-work orders, it has also served 260 remedial orders, said the ministry in response to CNA on Thursday.
Over half of the orders served included improving work from home arrangements, according to MOM.
A stop-work order literally means that it requires that companies stop work until they rectify their processes. Under remedial orders, workplaces must take corrective action but are allowed to continue their activities.
MOM said that office inspections will focus on whether employers implemented work from home arrangements.
When employees are still working in offices, even though they could perform their duties and access corporate systems and information from home.
Basically, they want to encourage companies to let their staff work from home as far as possible.
“In such instances, we have issued a remedial order to the company to get their staff to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable,” the ministry said.
MOM Has Also Inspects Factories & Construction Sites
But it’s not just offices that have come under inspection by the Ministry. What happens to those who aren’t able to work from home at all due to the nature of their jobs?
Well, MOM has also conducted inspections on other workplaces like factories and construction sites to ensure that there are measures in place to protect workers who are unable to work from home.
Employers who do not make facilities available for members of staff to work from home where reasonably practicable can be jailed or fined, according to an addition to the Infectious Diseases Act published in the Government Gazette on Wednesday.
Anyone who doesn’t abide by the new workplace preventive measures regulations will also be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$10,000 and/or jailed a maximum of six months.
This is all part of a new measure targeted at preventing further spread of the coronavirus in Singapore.
Previously Emphasised By Josephine Teo
This piece of news might seem familiar to you, and that’s probably because our Manpower Minister Josephine Teo had already noted that companies who do not allow telecommuting where possible might face stop-work orders or other penalties.
Thus, these companies have already been warned ahead of the inspection so they really have no excuse.
She also said that MOM plans to have more than 100 enforcement officers conduct checks on companies.
“If the company is really not taking it seriously at all, then we have no choice and will not hesitate to issue a stop-work order,” she said.
The government will first look at the company’s specific circumstance and from there they would take a “measured approach”.
She added that the duration of a stop-work order would depend on factors such as the severity of the case.