Singapore - DORSCON Orange: MAS' New Business Continuity Plan Advisory, MOM's Leave Of Absence Support For Employers.

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Singapore - Labour & Employment - Regulatory & Compliance

23 March, 2020

 

Following the raising of the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) alert level from Yellow to Orange, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued an updated advice to Financial Institutions1 (FIs) on aspects of their business continuity plans, which support their staff and customers and ensure security standards.

 

These measures are in addition to those recommended by the Ministry of Health Ministry and the Ministry of Manpower (with its tripartite partners - the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation) in the general advisory to employers and workplaces on continued operations while minimising risks of community spread of the COVID-19.

 

For outlines on employer obligations and important considerations across the Asia Pacific region, please see our Asia Pacific Regional Update - Coronavirus Outbreak.

 

In addition to summarising MAS' advice, we also report on the Ministry of Manpower's Leave of Absence Support Programme.

 

Staff and customers

 

In addition to FIs as employers stepping up their business continuity plans to prepare for widespread community transmission, MAS requires the FIs to ensure the following:

 

  • to continue maintaining of effective internal controls across their operations should split team arrangements be implemented;

  • to anticipate, and be prepared to manage, any increase in demand for certain financial services, such as cash withdrawal or online financial services;

  • to inform customers promptly of the availability of services and operating hours; and

  • to monitor and support staff morale.

 

To the recent staff and customer support measures taken by banks and insurers in Singapore, MAS welcomes support that is aligned with the guidelines on corporate debt restructuring by the Association of Banks in Singapore, such as:

 

  • moratoriums on repayments;

  • extension of payment terms for trade finance facilities, and

  • additional financing for working capital.

     

Security standards

 

MAS has cautioned FIs of cyber threats and scams which take advantage of the COVID-19 situation, such as:

 

  • conducting email scams, phishing and ransomware attacks; and

  • scammers impersonating contact tracing officials and requesting for financial information.

     

Leave of Absence Support Programme

 

All employees, including staff of FIs, with recent travel history to mainland China are required to go on a 14-day leave of absence (LOA) and be quarantined at home. How the employer considers this LOA may determine whether it can participate in the recently announced Ministry of Manpower LOA Support Programme.

 

Eligible employers:

 

  • can apply for SGD 100 daily per affected worker for the required duration of paid LOA granted to the employee; and

  • will automatically qualify for levy waiver for affected foreign workers for the LOA period.

     

Affected workers include Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Work Pass holders who travelled to mainland China on or before 31 January 2020, and who were placed on LOA upon their return to Singapore on or after 31 January 2020.

 

An employer is eligible if it meets the following criteria:

 

  • the employer granted additional paid leave to the affected worker for the entire duration of LOA period, without requiring the worker to use his/her original paid leave entitlements provided under the terms of employment, or treating the duration of LOA as hospitalisation leave (i.e. the employer continued pay salaries to the affected worker during period of LOA and did not require the affected worker to use his/her paid leave entitlements or required him/her to compensate the employee or anyone else in any way);
  • the affected worker must not have breached LOA requirements;
  • the affected worker must have obtained MOM's prior approval for workers on
  • Work Pass to enter Singapore after 23:59 hours on 8 February 2020;
  • the affected worker should not be able to perform work remotely; and
  • the affected worker must have been employed with the employer as at 31 January 2020.

 

The application form for LOA Support Programme (Employers) can be found here, and must be supported with the following documents:

 

Proof of employment for affected worker(s):

 

  • Itemised pay slip(s) for salary payment during LOA period; and
  • CPF Form 90 for December 2019 and January 2020 (only for locals)

 

Proof of affected workers’ travel to mainland China:

 

  • For workers not from People’s Republic of China (PRC): Scan of passport photo ID page, and entry and departure stamps from mainland China.
  • For workers from PRC: Air tickets and/or boarding passes for travel between Singapore and China (including transit stops).

 

We would be happy to assist you in advising you on your eligibility for the LOA Support Programme as well as assessing the sufficiency of your business continuity plans. 

 

Baker McKenzie

For further information, please contact:

 

Stephanie Magnus, Principal, Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow

stephanie.magnus@bakermckenzie.com

 

1 see: https://www.mas.gov.sg/news/media-releases/2020/mas-advises-financial-institutions-to-adopt- recommended-measures-for-dorscon-orange