COVID-19 Updates for Singapore Employers: Cost Reduction, Mandatory Notifications, and Government Support from the Fortitude Budget

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Following the end of the circuit breaker period on 1 June 2020, Singapore is implementing a gradual resumption of business. During this period, employers are likely to continue to have concerns over cost-saving and business continuity measures and the government support available to them.

 

Since our previous article, there have been a number of updates and advisories from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) providing additional guidance to employers during the circuit breaker period and beyond. Shortly before the end of the circuit breaker period, the Singapore government had also presented the Fortitude Budget on 26 May 2020, which includes, among other things, additional support for employers.

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Reopening the Workplace During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Employers Need to Know

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Singapore’s circuit breaker period came to an end on 2 June 2020 with the government introducing a three-phased approach for transitioning into a “new normal” and resuming economic activities safely.

With certain businesses reopening, the government is encouraging continued vigilance through a mix of statutory obligations as well as guidelines from the various government ministries. In terms of statutory obligations, the updated COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 includes specific obligations for employers, among others, to institute safe practices in the workplace. In terms of guidelines, the Ministry of Manpower has issued certain Safe Management Measures for general workplace settings and sector-specific guidelines for specific workplace settings.

This article aims to educate and provide guidance to employers operating post-circuit breaker on the requirements which may be relevant to them.

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Alternative Arrangements for Companies’ General Meetings

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We had previously written about the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and its provisions for the Minister for Law to prescribe alternative arrangements for, among others, the holding of general meetings.

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Companies, Variable Capital Companies, Business Trusts, Unit Trusts and Debenture Holders) Order 2020 (Order) was published in the Gazette on 13 April (and subsequently amended on 14 April 2020 and on 24 April 2020) and is deemed to come into effect on 27 March 2020.

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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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Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (“SOP Act”): Supplementary Rules for Electronic Adjudication Lodgment

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Introduction

On 15 April 2020, the Singapore Mediation Centre (“SMC”) enacted Supplementary Rules for Electronic Adjudication Lodgment to provide for:

  1. the electronic lodgment of documents;
  2. telegraphic transfer of fees;
  3. electronic service of documents; and
  4. adjudication conferences.

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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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Dealing with Manpower Costs during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting preventative measures, including social distancing, business closures and the prohibition on construction in Singapore from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020, will severely affect Singapore’s citizens and economy.

The construction industry faces numerous challenges, particularly with  labour costs during this crisis.  This article addressess the Singapore government’s relief measures  for construction and supply companies, steps these companies can take themselves, as well as some frequently asked questions.

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Dealing with COVID-19 in the Construction Industry – An Update

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Note: This is an update to our 7 April 2020 Alert.

On 3 April 2020, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) released an advisory to inform contractors that to reduce the risk of further local transmission of COVID-19, all building work (except for essential works) are to cease from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020, known as the Circuit Breaker Period.

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