MOM assistance for businesses regarding COVID-19

Feb 20 2020

Stay-Home Notice (SHN)
(With effect 18 February 2020, 2359 hours, SHN will replace LOAs)

A Stay-Home Notice or SHN is a precautionary measure that mandates individuals (without exception) to stay in their places of residence when serving their 14-day period. They should seek medical attention immediately if they develop any sign of fever or symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Individuals are encouraged to make their own arrangements to procure their meals and daily necessities, such as through delivery services. 

Employers are responsible to ensure that their employees who are Work Pass holders on SHN can obtain meals and other daily necessities. If support from employers is not forthcoming, these employees may report to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM):

  • SHN applies to all returnees (Singapore Residents, Long-term Pass holders and Work Pass holders) to Singapore from mainland China (outside Hubei) within the past 14 days 
  • Work pass holders currently on  mandatory 14-day Leave of Absence (LOA) will continue to serve out their LOA under conditions set out by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  • For returning Work Pass holders from mainland China, their employers are required to seek prior approval from MOM before they travel back to Singapore

Leave of Absence (LOA)
(With effect from 18 February 2020, the government will no longer be issuing LOAs)
A Leave of Absence or LOA is a precautionary measure that mandates individuals to stay in their places of residence during the period to minimise time spent in public spaces and social interactions. This is NOT a quarantine order. However, individuals are strongly advised to comply as a precautionary measure to prevent the transmission of the disease at the workplace.  

Who has to be placed on LOA
(Applicable ONLY to persons who have travelled to mainland China)
With effect from 31 January 2020, 1800 hours, the following returning groups are to serve a 14-day LOA from the day they return to Singapore from mainland China: 

  • Residents (Singaporean Citizens/PRs) with recent travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days 
  • Long-term Pass holders (including Work Passes and Permits, Student Pass, Dependent Pass and Long-term Visit Pass) with recent travel history to mainland China within the past 14 days 

Quarantine Order (QO)
A Quarantine Order or QO is a directive issued to individuals under the Infectious Diseases Act with legal enforcement. Non-compliance carries severe penalties. It is issued to isolate an individual who is suspected to be a carrier of CoVid-19 or in contact with an infectious disease. 

A Quarantine Order usually occurs in the home but may be served in dedicated Government Quarantine Facilities or hospitals.

Government assistance for businesses under the Leave of Absence Support Programme (LOASP)
(From 18 February 2020, Leave of Absence Support Programme is extended to those serving Stay-Home Notice) 
Eligible employers can apply for S$100 daily per affected worker for the required duration of paid LOA granted to the employee. Affected workers include Singapore Citizens (SC), Permanent Residents (PR), and Work Pass holders who travelled to mainland China on or before 31 January 2020, and placed on LOA upon their return to Singapore on or after 31 January 2020.

Eligible employers will also qualify for levy waiver for affected foreign workers for the LOA period.

Eligibility for the LOA Support Programme (LOASP)
Workers who are on LOA based on the requirements that are already in placed up to 31 January 2020 are eligible for this programme. Individuals who have travelled to mainland China after 31 January 2020 will not be eligible. The LOASP is only for employees who have travelled to mainland China during the defined period.   

Employers who wish to apply for the $100 daily support for their affected employees must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Employer’s company must be registered in Singapore
  • Employee must be Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Work Pass holder
  • Employer must have granted additional paid leave to the affected employee for the entire LOA period, without requiring the employee to use his/her original paid leave entitlement stated in the terms of employment, or treating the duration of LOA as hospitalisation leave
  • Employee must have fully complied with the LOA requirements
  • Employer must have obtained MOM’s prior approval for employees on work pass returning to Singapore after 2359 hours on 8 February 2020
  • Employee should not have been able to perform work remotely
  • Employee must be employed as at 31 January 2020 and for the full duration of LOA

Application guideline for LOA Support Programme 

Required supporting documents: 

  • Proof of employment (itemised payslips during the LOA period)
  • CPF Form 90 for the period of Dec 2019/Jan 2020 (for SG citizens & SPR)
  • Proof of affected employee’s travel to mainland China. Examples: Air tickets, entry and departure stamps from mainland China, boarding pass (including transit stops)
  • Online submission of LOA Support Programme to MOM after employee has completed his/her LOA or within 90 days from last day of the LOA

Cap on the LOA Support Programme
Employers can claim up to S$1,400 (S$100 per day for the 14 days of Leave of Absence).

MOM checks on foreign workers who are on LOA
MOM will perform checks on Work Pass holders who are under LOA via SMS, Video Call or onsite inspections to verify their location. 

Penalties for breaching LOA 
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has the right to revoke work passes and curtail employers work pass privileges. Recent cases of breaches, 9 February 2020 

Levy fee waiver if Work Pass holder is quarantined or denied entry into Singapore due to government travel restrictions in placed
If the employees are given a Quarantine Order by the Ministry of Health (MOH), a levy waiver is applicable as quarantine is considered as a form of hospitalisation leave. 

Employers may also get a levy wavier for foreign employees who are denied entry into Singapore due to government travel restrictions. 

Employees or students to get tested at the end of the 14-day LOA period to get clearance to return to work or school 
Diagnostic test is available for symptomatic individuals who are admitted to a hospital. It is not necessary to send employees who do not have symptoms to a doctor or hospital for testing. These non-symptomatic individuals will not be offered a diagnostic test. 
Source: Ministry of Health FAQ

MOM’s measures to date

  • From 31 Jan 2020, MOM had and will continue to reject all new Work Pass applications for workers from mainland China until further notice 
  • All returning employees with travel history to Hubei within 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore are to be quarantined at home or other suitable facilities
  • All employees arriving from mainland China (excluding Hubei province) on or after 1800 hours on 31 Jan 2020 are required to go on LOA for 14 days from the day of arrival in Singapore

MOM advisory

1. Under LOA or SHN, employers must ensure that affected employees stay away from the workplace. However, employers may adopt flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and teleconferencing.

2. If remote working is not possible, employers are encouraged to provide paid LOA over and above employees’ annual leave entitlement.

3. Employers can consider these additional options, or a combination of them:

  • Treatment should be considered as paid hospitalisation leave or paid outpatient sick leave
  • Allow affected employees to apply for annual leave
  • Allow affected employees to use advanced paid leave or apply for no pay leave, for employees who have used up their leave entitlement
  • Other mutually agreed arrangements between employers and employees

4. MOM reserves the right to take action against any employer or employee if they fail to discharge their duties.

For more information please visit the following Singapore Government advisory links:


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