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Workplace & Employment



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THAILAND: COVID-19: Prohibition on Lockouts and Strikes

In order to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand, the Thai government announced an emergency decree which applies to all areas in Thailand from 26 March to 30 April 2020 (“Emergency Decree”), and has since been extended to 31 May 2020. Under the Emergency Decree, the Thai government has issued several notifications in order to prevent and suppress the outbreak.

One of the most recent notifications is from the Ministry of Labour Re: Referral of unsettled labour disputes to the labour relations committee for settlement and prohibition on employers to cause a lockout or employees to cause a strike during the period of the emergency situations in accordance with the laws on public administration in emergency situations (“Notification”). The Notification came into force on 8 May 2020 and is widely understood to be intended to prevent a potential spread of the disease by prohibiting employee strike action, while also allowing employees who were previously subject to a lockout to return to work.

Thailand | Workplace & Employment | 21 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Resuming Workplace Operations: Safe Management Measures

Following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce's announcement that the circuit breaker measures would be progressively-eased over the coming weeks, the Tripartite Partners have issued Safe Management Measures on 9 May 2020 ("Measures") for employers to establish a system to ensure a safe work environment and minimise the risks of further outbreaks. The Measures issued by the Tripartite Partners must be implemented by employers which are allowed to resume operations, including employers allowed to operate during this period and those permitted to do so after 12 May 2020. For employers resuming operations after the end of the circuit breaker period, the Measures must be in place before they can resume operations at the workplace. An outline of the Measures is set out in this update.

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 13 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Guideline on Health and Livelihood Protection of Cambodian International Migrants and Returnees During COVID-19 Containment

On 29 April 2020, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued Guideline No. 048/20 MLVT on Health and Livelihood Protection of Cambodian International Migrants and Returnees During COVID-19 Containment (“Guideline”). The Guideline mandates the returnees to, among other things, follow the guidelines of the competent authority at the land border and airport for health check measure implementation and 14-day quarantine after arrival, and contact the local authorities for intervention if any problem affecting their daily livelihood during the COVID-19 containment arises.

Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 12 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE and DTI Issue Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for Private Establishments Allowed to Operate during the ECQ and GCQ

The whole of Luzon has been under an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") since 17 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.  On 30 April  2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 112 which approved the extension -- until 15 May 2020 -- of the ECQ over Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), CALABARZON (comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and other high-risk provinces.  Moderate and low-risk provinces, meanwhile, were placed under a less-stringent General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 May 2020.   

On 30 April 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued interim guidelines to assist private institutions that are allowed to operate during the ECQ and GCQ in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 07 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Quarantine Measures for Workers Taking Leave during the Khmer New Year and Returning Back to Work at Factories, Enterprises and Establishments

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (“MLVT”) has issued Guideline No. 046/20 MLVT/GUI.CBN dated 17 April 2020 on the Quarantine Measures for Workers Taking Leave during the Khmer New Year and Returning Back to Work at Factories, Enterprises and Establishments (“Guideline”). Following the previous regulations of the MLVT and Ministry of Health, the Guideline requires all owners or directors of the factories and all workers to implement certain measures, such as providing isolation rooms for returning employees, and instructing workers to have health checks at the Health Control Centre.

Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 30 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE Suspends Alien Employment Permit Processing and Allows Deferment of Payment of Holiday Pay for April 2020

In light of the enhanced community quarantine ("ECQ") implemented in the Luzon Region due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suspended the processing and issuance of alien employment permits (AEP) and allowed employers to defer the payment of holiday pay to employees.  The ECQ was implemented on 16 March 2020 and would be in effect until 30 April 2020.  On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 28 April 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order: Update on Employment Issues

The Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia which started on 18 March 2020 has been extended till 28 April 2020 (“Restriction Period”).

In this update, we discuss the initiatives introduced by the Government to assist employers and employees during the Restriction Period, and the updated FAQs issued by the Ministry of Human Resources as a result of consultations with stakeholders in the wider industry.

Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 15 April 2020
CAMBODIA: Requirement for Workers Transportation Permit and Work Performance during Domestic Travel Constraint

Following the Royal Government’s Order No. 02 ORD dated 9 April 2020 pertaining to the domestic travel constraint, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued a notification on the use of workers transportation permit and work performance during such domestic travel constraint.

Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 13 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Laws Enforcing Telecommuting, Safe Distancing (and More) at Workplace Take Effect 2 April 2020

On 1 April 2020, the Infectious Diseases (Workplace Measures to Prevent Spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") were issued to give legal force to prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace. The Regulations apply throughout the control period of 2 April 2020 to 30 April 2020, inclusive of both dates. Its rapid implementation indicates the gravity of the current situation and the government's determination to ensure compliance. The Regulations apply to employers, principals, and occupiers, and set out prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 to be put in place at the workplace, including safe distancing and telecommuting.

[Note: Following the Singapore Government announcements on 3 April 2020, new enhanced safe distancing measures will take effect on 7 April 2020. This relates most importantly to the need to work from home. The measures have been significantly tightened, with the critical point that “reasonably practicable” has been removed. The measures critically result in the requirement to close all workplace premises and retail outlets except for certain specified essential services. Non-compliance will result in an offence. This Update must thus be read with reference to these new measures.]

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 03 April 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19 & Employment Issues in Thailand

On 25 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a state of emergency under the Emergency Decree, which gives authority to the Prime Minister to announce further implementing notifications and measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand. Such notifications and measures will affect entrepreneurs or employers directly and indirectly. In light of the COVID-19 situation, we set out below our legal comments concerning employment issues affecting employers and employees. Thailand's response to COVID-19 must be monitored on a daily basis; however, we have set out below the status as at 31 March 2020.

Thailand | Workplace & Employment | 31 March 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order – Update on Employment Issues

Since the issuance of the Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia ("MCO”), business has slowed substantially for essential services providers and come to a standstill for others. The prospect of the MCO being extended beyond the initial restriction period, i.e. 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020, is weighing heavily on the minds of business owners. The need to minimise expenses and conserve cash at a time when revenue has fallen substantially has given rise to questions of what employers can do to secure their business and at the same time support their employees.

In this Update, we examine various laws and pronouncements and explain their effects on the employer-employee relationship. We analyse in particular the two FAQs issued by the Ministry of Human Resources on 19 March 2020 and 20 March 2020.

Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 23 March 2020
SINGAPORE: Latest - Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment in View of COVID-19

In view of COVID-19, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trade Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation issued an update to their Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment ("Advisory") on 11 March 2020. The Advisory sets out possible measures to manage excess manpower and is intended to help employees continue to retain a job amidst a likely prolonged difficult period even as employers work towards keeping their businesses and employees' jobs viable. We highlight some of these updates below.

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 17 March 2020
SINGAPORE: FAQs for Employers: Practical Tips on Dealing with the COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak across the world has had a major impact on the economy in many countries, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry downgrading Singapore's 2020 GDP growth forecast to -0.5% to 1.5% on 17 February 2020. With the economy and businesses taking a beating, all quarters in Singapore are holding on to the hope that the situation in Singapore will stabilise soon. The Singapore Government has taken a practical approach to contain the spread of the virus while urging the public to continue business as usual where possible.

As businesses adapt to the evolving situation, we address some frequently asked questions on an employer's obligation to comply with the Singapore Government's defensive measures and to provide a safe workplace for their employees while maintaining business continuity.

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 25 February 2020


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