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Local firms in Singapore advised to review business continuity plans

Businesses in Singapore have been advised to review their business continuity plans (BCPs) in the context of short-term staff shortages due to increasing numbers of Covid-19 Omicron cases.

Employers, especially those providing essential services, have been advised to implement their BCPs to minimise business disruption, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Health and the tripartite partners: the Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation.

Mayumi Soh of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons said: “The tripartite partners are advising employers to prepare for business disruption caused by ‘potentially high levels of workforce absences’. Employers should ensure that any modifications to employee work arrangements are always in compliance with existing contractual agreements and applicable laws.”

Employers are advised to deploy employees in key functions into different teams in order to reduce the risk of operational disruption, and to redeploy employees in key functions who test positive for Covid-19.

In addition, employers are also advised to conduct regular testing of employees working on-site, especially those in critical functions. Employers should also in keep regular contact with infected employees to track their recovery and ensure compliance with the the Ministry of Manpower's safe workplace management guidance, including the measures to be taken if an employee is infected with Covid-19.

The tripartite partners said that employees should take self-responsibility and refrain from going to work if they are not feeling well.

Employers are encouraged to strengthen their company policies on leave and salary arrangements to cater for occasions where there could be temporary suspension of operations due to the absence of employees performing critical functions.

Employers are also advised to identify the triggers for different aspects of their BCP based on the level of absence of different categories of employees, and to prepare the additional resources needed to initiate their BCP. These could include equipment for working from home and avenues for hiring temporary staff.

If necessary, employers should also prepare a plan for communicating with consumers or service purchasers to seek their understanding for any delays in service delivery.

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