Companies to follow public sector policy for unvaxxed staff?

SINGAPORE: Officers from the public sector who opt not to take Covid-19 jabs, despite being medically eligible, may have to be put on leave without pay or not have their contracts renewed.

Human Resource experts observed that private companies may follow suit.

The Public Service Division (PSD) --- Singapore's largest employer with around 153,000 staff members --- said that about 98% of its public officers are fully vaccinated.

“Public agencies will strongly encourage the remaining officers to get fully vaccinated to protect themselves and others,” the PSD added. “They may be allowed to work on-site provided that they take a Covid-19 test before going to the office at their own expense.”

PeopleWorlwide Consulting’s managing director of human resources, Dr David Leong, said that private companies seem to take the same step towards their unvaccinated employees.

"Workplace safety can be compromised when unvaccinated co-workers become the links to infecting others," he said, adding that it is damaging to the business.

The PSD clarified that it might allow unvaccinated staff to work from home from Jan 1, 2022, if the job can be done remotely. The unvaccinated staff may also be redeployed to other available remote jobs whose salaries are equal to the responsibilities of the substitute jobs.

In October, the government’s task force handling Covid-19 announced that only fully vaccinated staff or those who have recovered in the past nine months can resume working from Jan 1, 2022. Unvaccinated employees will be prohibited at the workplace unless they present a negative Covid-19 test result before resuming work.

PSD aligned its policy with the Ministry of Manpower's Covid-19 vaccination at the workplace advisory released on October 23. The advisory stated that MOM, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers' Federation, gave the employers the prerogative to manage their unvaccinated workers who can work at home. It highlighted that it would not be counted as unjust dismissal if termination of employment is due to the inability of the employees to be at the workplace to perform their duties.

As of mid-October, about 96% of the country’s total workforce has been vaccinated. Around 113,000 employees have yet to be inoculated.

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