Singapore employers may exclude unvaccinated employees from benefits

Singapore employers may exclude unvaccinated employees from benefits | Insurance Business Asia

Singapore employers may exclude unvaccinated employees from benefits

Singapore’s tripartite labour authorities are urging employers to adopt the “vaccinate or regular test” regime for existing and new employees in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tripartite partners are the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).

Employers may implement vaccination-dependent measures in the workplace, such as requiring medically eligible yet unvaccinated employees to pay out of pocket for coronavirus-related expenses, such as testing, Channel News Asia reported. Unvaccinated employees may also be excluded from the company’s medical insurance coverage for COVID-19.

The "vaccinate or regular test" regime will require unvaccinated employees to be tested for the coronavirus twice a week using antigen rapid tests. Additional tests may also be required before certain work or social events.

The labour authorities warned that vaccination status should not be the sole basis whether to retain or terminate an employee.

“Under no circumstances should an employer terminate or threaten to terminate the service of an employee on the basis of vaccination status alone,” the tripartite partners said in an advisory. “However, employers may exercise their right to contractually terminate employment if unvaccinated employees do not comply with reasonable vaccination-differentiated workplace measures.”

According to date from the Ministry of Health, at least 78% of Singapore’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 82% having received at least one dose.

“Although Singapore’s vaccination rates are one of the highest in the world, we need to continue to expand our vaccine coverage to optimise our resilience against COVID-19,” the tripartite partners said.