In line with the advisory on COVID-19 Vaccination at the Workplace by Ministry of Manpower on 23 August 2019, all employers are encouraged to adopt the Vaccinate or Regular Test Regime (VoRT).
Timeline for Employers to adopt the VoRT regime
Employers should take steps to prepare their workforce early in the lead up to the VoRT regime that will be implemented from 1 October 2021. The tripartite partners urge employers who adopt the VoRT regime as their company policy to communicate clearly and in advance to affected employees and jobseekers on the vaccination-differentiated workplace measures and any associated costs to employees who are medically eligible but decline vaccination.
To minimise risks of COVID-19 outbreaks at the workplace, employers may adopt the VoRT regime on a voluntary basis and subject unvaccinated employees to additional COVID-19 tests (compared to vaccinated employees). The frequency of testing can take reference from the frequency under MOH’s guidelines for the VoRT regime, i.e. twice a week for unvaccinated employees in selected sectors. A test done under the existing Fast and Easy Testing (FET) or the Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) regime, which is either a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or supervised FET, also counts towards this requirement.
Work and social events
Employers may require unvaccinated employees to undergo Pre- Event Testing (PET) before participating in workplace events or implement reduced group sizes when unvaccinated employees participate in such events, especially those involving mask-off activities, in line with the prevailing MOH guidelines.
Why do I need to know this?
In line with the Singapore Government's direction to resuming normal, companies are required to test their employees on a regular basis. As the choice of vaccination is the choice of the employee ( for most industries ), employers are allowed to recover the certain costs if the employee is medically eligible but has chosen to not be vaccinated per Ministry of Manpower.
Additional Costs Related to Medically Eligible but Unvaccinated Employees under the VoRT Regime
Some costs are necessary and common for both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, and employers should bear these costs.
Other costs are required only for unvaccinated employees. Employers can require medically eligible but unvaccinated employees (i.e. excluding employees who are medically ineligible for mRNA vaccines) to bear such additional costs as follows:
COVID-19 related expenses. Employers may recover from these employees COVID-19 related expenses (e.g. cost of test kits, costs of Stay-Home Notice (SHN) accommodation) that are incurred over and above those for vaccinated employees. These expenses can be recovered either through salary deductions or by requiring these employees to pay the relevant service provider directly.
Leave. Unvaccinated employees may be discharged later from treatment or may be served with longer periods of movement restrictions such as SHN, compared to vaccinated employees. In such situations, employers can require that the additional days a medically eligible but unvaccinated employee has to serve, be taken from existing leave entitlements. If leave entitlements have been exhausted, employers may require such an employee to go on no-pay leave.
Medical benefits. Employers may choose to exclude these employees from medical benefits associated with COVID-19 (e.g. insurance coverage).
How do I create a deduction field for COVID-19 expenses?
Using Pay Items
You can head over to Payroll > Pay Items > Create New Pay Item
The Pay Item can be named accordingly, with the Category: Deduction, CPF Type: (No CPF) and IR8A Code:(not Taxable)
If the costs of the COVID-19 testing can be reliably predicted, you may mass assign the pay item to multiple applicable employees.
Under Payroll > Pay Items > COVID-19 Testing Expense > View
Click on the Mass Assign Button to assign to multiple employees
You may view the latest MOM advisories at the link here. https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19
This article was written in reference to the advisory published on 23 August 2021 with the link here. Updated advisory on COVID-19 vaccination at the workplace
As the COVID-19 situation changes constantly, Payboy Pte. Ltd. is not responsible for providing the latest updated news. Kindly always refer to MOM or MOH for the latest news.
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