The Republic of Singapore, one of the world’s most vaccinated countries boasting an 82.86% vaccination rate, has announced new harsh COVID-19 restrictions today, officially banning all unvaccinated employees from working in person.
New restriction means that many unjabbed workers who are unable to perform their duties from home could soon be fired.
New ban, introduced on Saturday as part of Singapore’s ‘Phase 2’ plan for the workforce, scraps a previous policy that allowed employees to work in person if they provided negative COVID-19 tests.
From today on, “only employees who are fully vaccinated, certified to be medically ineligible or have recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days, can return to the workplace,” Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower announced.
The ministry warned that those unvaccinated employees who do not fall into any of the exempt categories “will not be allowed to return to the workplace” even if they provide a negative test.
Singapore businesses have been advised to assign unvaccinated employees duties which can be performed from home or to place them on unpaid leave. However, if a company determines that there is no way it can accommodate an unvaccinated employee, it can fire them without any ramifications.
“If termination of employment is due to employees’ inability to be at the workplace to perform their contracted work, such termination of employment would not be considered as wrongful dismissal,” the government said.
Employees who are only partially vaccinated will be allowed to remain in the workplace until January 31 if they continue to provide negative COVID-19 test results. After that date, however, they will face the same restrictions as the unvaccinated.
Unvaccinated people are already banned from restaurants and many stores in Singapore. The city-state is one of the most-vaccinated places on Earth. In December, the government reported that some 52,000 employees were yet to take their first COVID-19 shot, noting that only a “small proportion” among them qualified for medical exemptions.