COVID-19 Updates for Singapore Employers: Safe Distancing, Cost Reduction and Government Support

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This article was originally published on 3 April 2020 and last updated on 27 April.

As of 27 April 2020, Singapore has reported more than 13,000 cases and 12 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the number of new cases in the local communities have started to level off, many of the new cases are unlinked, pointing to a larger, as-yet undetected reservoir of cases in Singapore. As such, there is the continued need to be vigilant in enforcing social distancing and isolation measures.

Even as countries all over the world begin increasing such preventative health measures, the pandemic is also devastating the global economy, including Singapore. During times of economic downturn and uncertainty, controlling fixed costs such as labour becomes even more pressing for companies. Businesses in almost every sector have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are looking to cut costs during this period of crisis. While every business faces unique considerations, the following guidance aims to clarify issues relating to safe distancing practices at the workplace, cost-saving and business continuity measures, and the available government support during this health and economic crisis for Singaporean businesses.

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Loan Obligations: Relief Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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On 31 March 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced a package of targeted relief measures that was rolled out together with the Association of Banks in Singapore, the Life Insurance Association, the General Insurance Association and the Finance Houses Association of Singapore to provide temporary relief for individuals and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing liquidity problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this collapsing world economy, these measures could be a lifeline to stave off bankruptcy and winding-up actions.

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COVID-19 (임시 조치) 법 2020

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2020년 4월 7일 싱가포르 의회는 다음과 같은 두개의 중대한 COVID-19 관련 법률을 통과시켰습니다:

  • COVID-19임시 조치법 2020 (이하 “임시 조치법”): 이 임시 조치법은 COVID-19 사태로 인해 피해를 입은 당사자들에게 한시적인 구제 조치를 제공하고, 정부에게 통제 통제 명령을 내릴 수 있는 권리를 부여합니다.
  • COVID-19 (임시 조치)(통제 명령) 규정 2020 (이하 “통제 명령”): 상기 임시 조치법에 의해 공표된 통제 명령은 202047일 부터 202054 까지 그 규모와 및 장소를 불문하고 모든 “social” 모임을 금지 및 통제합니다.

이 기고문은 임시 조치법과 통제 명령에 대한 주요 내용을 제공하기 위해 작성되었습니다.

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신종 코로나 바이러스 (COVID-19): 현재까지의 법적 영향 및 향후 전망

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2020년 3월 11일 세계보건기구 (WHO)는 신종 코로나바이러스(이하 “COVID-19“)의 발병을 세계적인 유행병으로 선언했습니다. 2020년 4월 14일 기준으로 세계적으로 186만 4,360명이 COVID-19 감염 확진 판정을 받았으며 사망자는 11만 8,246명입니다. COVID-19는 전 세계적으로 큰 영향을 끼쳤습니다. 각국은 국경을 폐쇄하고 지역 봉쇄를 통해 국민들의 움직임에 제재를 가하기 시작했습니다.

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COVID-19: The legislative framework for the security and use of electronic signatures in Singapore

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For most of us working from home and actively telecommuting to help stem the tide of local transmissions of COVID-19 during this crucial period, technological advancements in digital communication and remote access have been a boon.

It is thus timely to restate the guiding principles of “electronic signatures” and their use in electronic records and transactions that have become increasingly commonplace.

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Required Annual General Meetings for Singapore Companies During COVID-19 Restrictions

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The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the implementation of safe distancing measures as well as the current “circuit breakers” by the Singapore government. Many companies incorporated in Singapore are statutorily required to hold their annual general meetings (AGMs) while such control measures are in place, which may prevent AGMs from taking place by the stipulated period.

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COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020

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On 7 April 2020, the Parliament of Singapore passed two important pieces of COVID-19 legislation:

  1. the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020. The Act provides temporary relief to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and gives the government powers to make control orders; and
  2. the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. The Control Order, issued pursuant to the Act, prohibits all social gatherings from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020.

This article summarizes the key features of the Act and the Control Order.

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Singapore’s COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill

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According to a press release by the Ministry of Law on 1 April 2020, the Singapore government will introduce a new bill known as the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill in Parliament on 7 April 2020.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, which summarises the likely key features of the bill, based on currently available sources, please visit the firm website.

COVID-19 in Singapore: What Can Commercial Tenants Do?

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The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is the most critical problem facing the world now.

The Singapore government has acted swiftly to reduce the risks of local transmission. At the time of publication of this Alert, all bars and entertainment venues such as nightclubs, cinemas and games centres have been prohibited from operating. In addition, all gatherings involving more than 10 persons have been prohibited. Food and beverage, retail, and health and fitness businesses have been allowed to continue their operations (but with further precautionary measures)―for now. It is certain that these regulations will, and must, be tightened if the health crisis continues on its current trajectory.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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