As Singapore entered Phase Two (Heightened Alert) on May 16th, a number of additional safe management measures have been put in place that affect both workers and employees. The heightened alert phase will be in place until June 13th 2021. At the same time, the Government has rolled out extensions to existing support measures, as well as new grants that businesses and individuals can tap into to relieve the financial burden during this period.
Here is a round up of top HR news stories, updates, and insights from the past month in Singapore.
◾ Nearly half of Singapore employers plan to invest more in up-skilling critical staff.
Top priorities of Singapore companies have been outlined in a new global survey by Mercer.
- 63% of Singapore companies see staff restructuring as the top priority as a result of COVID-19’s financial impact.
- 37% of companies say they will be investing in up-skilling employees, with 41% intending to invest more in helping critical staff gain new skills.
- 32% of companies say boosting employee moral is a priority for 2021.
◾ Many bosses still want their workers to come into the office, despite safe management measures.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) inspected more than 530 workplaces between May 8 to 21 and issued fines to 11 companies for breaches of the enhanced measures.
◾ More companies are looking into ways to help employees work from home.
With hybrid work arrangements set to stay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies are looking into ways to help their employees work from home in the long-term.
◾ The most overworked cities in the world 2021: Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.
Singapore has emerged as one of the top three most overworked populations in the world, despite ranking 18/50 for overall work-life balance in Kisi's Global Work-Life Balance Index 2021.
◾ Updates to requirements for Safe Management Measures at the workplace.
From 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021, the Safe Management Measures for the workplace will be tightened. Previously, up to 50% of employees who are able to work from home could be at the workplace at any time. During the heightened alert period, employers must ensure that all employees who are able to work from home do so.
◾ Support measures have been enhanced to help individuals and businesses during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).
The Government will be enhancing its support measures for businesses and individuals during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period, including enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), rental relief for SMEs and NPOs in commercial properties, the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) and more.
◾ New temporary COVID-19 grant for workers & self-employed during the Heightened Alert period.
A temporary COVID-19 Recovery Grant has been released to help lower to middle income workers who are experiencing income loss through the Phase Two Heightened Alert period. Eligible individuals may receive a one-off payout of up to S$700.
◾ Get up to $8,000 funding to provide rest areas for workers under new Workcare Grant.
Building owners and service buyers can now tap into a $1 million fund to provide rest areas for outsourced cleaners and security officers.
The Workcare Grant will cover up to 80% of costs up to $8,000 to create a new rest area, or up to $3,000 for improving an existing rest area.
◾ Enterprise Singapore re-introduces support measures for F&B and retail businesses to develop digital capabilities and offset business costs.
To extend additional support to businesses, Enterprise Singapore re-introduced the Food Delivery Booster Package and E-Commerce Booster Package from 16 May 2021, to help affected F&B and retail businesses diversify their revenue channels and defray business costs of going online.
◾ S$32 million in jobs scheme payouts was denied to 1,300 employers.
IRAS has denied S$32 million in Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) payouts for ineligible submissions to 1,300 employers, with 10 cases of suspected JSS abuse referred to the police.