When it comes to employee benefits and COVID-19 coverage for employees in Singapore, local insurers generally cover pandemics, but private insurers tend to have pandemic exclusions. However, BUPA recently confirmed it will not enforce this exclusion for COVID-19.
Overall Singapore’s government enacted a swift response to COVID-19 and the government makes it easy to track the measures employers should take on its Enterprise Singapore website.
Additionally, on April 6th, the government added another $5.1 billion (called the Solidarity Budget) to see Singaporeans and businesses through COVID-19. Galaxy also recommends that global workforce managers understand:
- Most businesses are closed except those defined as critical.
- Property tax rebates awarded by the state must be passed onto tenants.
- Up to 75% of the 1st $4,600 of a Singaporean monthly wages will be paid by the government.
- There is wage support of 25% – 75% up to specified caps for 9 months for Singaporeans. This is part of Singapore’s Resilience Budget.
- The foreign worker levy (usually payable for lower skilled foreigners) is waived for the month of April.
- There is no wage relief for foreigners.
- Cash handouts ranging from $600 to $1,200 are available for all Singaporeans aged 21+. An additional $300 is available if employees have a child.
- Returning Singaporeans are quarantined regardless of country of departure (2359 HRS April 9, 2020) and the costs are funded by the state (some have been put up at the Shangri La which is a top end 5 star hotel). However, those who left Singapore recently, and have just returned, will bear the costs.