Latest News: 25 January 2021

1.  WFH to remain default for companies: MOM, NTUC, and SNEF; peak hour travel up by 11% in January 2021

Even though Singapore has entered Phase 3, the authorities still maintain that working from home (WFH) should remain the default arrangement for companies, to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

In a joint statement by The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the three partners said that adjustments have been made to the prevailing Safe Management Measures (SMMs), in lieu of the rising number of cases in the community.

In addition, the statement also noted that peak hour travel has increased by 11 per cent in January 2021, as compared to November 2020.

The prevailing SMM advisory states that employers are not only required to allow employees to WFH as the default, but must implement flexible work hours so that employees can commute during off-peak periods, should they need to return to their workplaces. Hence, they have called upon employers to stagger work hours more extensively.

2. Stricter safe management measures for upcoming Chinese New Year period

From 26 January onwards, households will only be allowed to have a maximum of eight unique visitors a day, which is different from the current rule of having eight visitors at one time.

However, co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Task Force Lawrence Wong has acknowledged that enforcement of this new rule is “not going to be so easy”. He said that enforcement might occur in the following ways: through Enforcement Officers doing random spot checks or neighbours telling on rule-breakers.

He also said that random spot checks have been done before and are not new. Nonetheless, he strongly advised people to cooperate and do their part.

To add on, those who are dining out will also be required to keep their face masks on during the tossing of yusheng, and no shouting of auspicious phrases will be allowed.

More enforcement checks will be done at F&B establishments, malls, and other public spaces during this period. Those who do not comply with safety measures will be severely penalised, from fines to prosecution in court — depending on the severity of the offence.

3. Pilot programme for the vaccination of seniors in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar to begin from 27 January 2021

The seniors in our community are next in line to receive their vaccinations in a pilot programme that will begin on 27 January. 

The pilot will begin with seniors from two estates with a larger number of senior residents — Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar. This pilot aims to iron out all the operational processes before scaling up across the island. 

Eligible seniors will receive personalised letters inviting them to make an appointment for their vaccinations. They can make their appointments either online or in-person at selected Community Centres near them. 

Additionally, community volunteers from the People’s Association and Silver Generation Ambassadors will be conducting house visits and tapping on existing grassroots events to answer queries and help seniors to book an appointment if necessary.

Information sheets with more details on the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination process will also be provided. 

Seniors who require further assistance may also call the MOH hotline at 1800-333-9999.

Beginning from mid-February 2021, the vaccination will be progressively extended to seniors outside Ang Mo Kioand Tanjong Pagar. To cater to these residents, more vaccination centres will be set up for convenience. 

These centres will be set up in high population catchment areas and/or along three public transport routes for greater accessibility.

Additionally, preparations are underway for local polyclinics and selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPC) to serve as vaccination centres. 

The Singapore government aims to have sufficient vaccines for all Singaporeans and long-term residents in Singapore by Q3 of 2021. They will continue to monitor vaccine supplies closely to meet this goal. 

4. Jobs Growth Incentive scheme saw over 50,000 locals hired

In the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) latest Jobs Situation Report, more than 50,000 local workers were hired under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) just one month after it launched in September 2020. 

The JGI is a wage subsidy scheme introduced to encourage firms to hire more locals in response to the COVID-19 economic fallout. Under the scheme, the Government will co-pay between 25 and 50 per cent of the first S$5,000 of a local hire’s gross monthly wages for 12 months.

Companies that take in older workers aged 40 and above, individuals with disabilities, and ex-offenders will be entitled to a 50 per cent salary rebate per hire. Meanwhile, hiring anyone else entitles them to a 25 per cent rebate. 

To qualify for the JGI, companies must increase both their overall local workforce size and the local workforce size earning at least S$1,400 per month compared to their August 2020 local headcount. 

According to MOM’s preliminary estimates, about half of the 50,000 local hires under the Jobs Growth Incentive were aged 40 and over. About 14,000 companies tapped on the scheme, with the top hiring sectors including food services, wholesale trade, professional services, construction, and education. 

The scheme is slated to end next month. However, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has said that the Government is still deciding whether to extend the scheme given the existing uncertainties in the local labour market. In the meantime, Mrs Teo has urged companies to hire first if good candidates present themselves to make use of the current scheme. 

5. Moonton names Razer as a partner of M2 World Championship

Chinese video game developer and developer of popular mobile multiplayer game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) has welcomed Razer as its official peripheral partner for MLBB’s 2021 M2 World Championship.

The collaboration aims to forge a strong partnership with both entities to work towards more innovative initiatives within esports. 

As part of this partnership, Razer will be producing a special edition Razer BlackShark V2 gaming headset which features an illustration of MLBB’s character, Miya. The illustration had been designed and hand-painted by Indonesian visual entertainer Shanetortilla. 

It will be available to Moonton’s ‘top influencers’ as a token of appreciation for their support in sharing on social media. 

In celebration of the M2 World Championship, Razer will also be providing online activations which give fans the opportunity to win prizes.

The M2 World Championship was co-organised by Moonton and the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (SCOGA), with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). It was held at the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore over the course of last week.


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