News Recap – 11 Dec to 17 Dec

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Key highlights from recent news on Covid-19, MOM, Human Resources, and Sustainability below


1/2: Work-from-home no longer the default from Jan 1, up to 50% of workers allowed back in the office

People who have received two doses of the Sinovac or Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine are reminded to take their third dose to be considered fully vaccinated from Jan 1.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that since Wednesday (Dec 1), it has been progressively sending out SMS notifications to 70,000 people who have received two doses of these vaccines. They are eligible to take their third

From Jan 1, 50 per cent of employees who can work from home will be allowed to return to the office, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Dec 14).

This is because previously-announced workforce vaccination measures will kick in on that date, meaning Singapore will be “in a better position to ease the current default work-from-home posture”, said MOH.

Such measures include only allowing employees who are fully vaccinated or who have recently recovered from COVID-19 to return to the workplace.

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2/2: 97% of S’pore workforce fully vaccinated; experts call for calibrated return to office

Ninety-seven per cent of Singapore’s workforce have been vaccinated, and only about 75,000 employees are unvaccinated as at Dec 5, the Ministry of Manpower told The Sunday Times.

This marks a one-third decrease since Oct 17, when there were 113,000 unvaccinated workers. This reduction comes ahead of a Jan 1 requirement for all staff to be fully vaccinatedto be able to return to the workplace.

Employees can also return if they have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 270 days or have a negative pre-event testing (PET) result for the duration they are required to be at the workplace. The PET result is valid for 24 hours.

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The Ministry of Manpower

1/1: Singapore’s resident employment grew in Q3, trimming fall in total employment

Total employment declined far less in the third quarter of 2021, mainly because resident employment “increased strongly”, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its latest labour market report.

Resident employment went up by 19,100 while non-resident employment fell by 21,500, at a pace similar to the second quarter. In total, employment decreased by 2,400, compared to the 16,300 decline in the previous quarter.

Ongoing border restrictions contributed to the continued contraction of non-resident employment across most industries, said MOM.

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human resources

1/2: Trust in working relationships important for employees’ mental well-being, says HR professional

Whenever Ms Lyn Lee wants to have an intimate conversation about mental well-being with a colleague, she first tries to gently disarm them with a story from her personal reservoir of life experiences.

The chief diversity and inclusion officer at energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than 10 years ago, told the Straits Times this approach usually puts colleagues at ease. They are then more willing to trust and open up about their own personal struggles.

“It is about making it safe for other people, because people relate to others through their stories and their experience,” said Ms Lee, a Singaporean and the first person outside of Europe appointed to fill this global role, in 2018.

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2/2: Talent attraction begins with employer branding

With job security stabilising globally, employees are beginning to rethink their priorities, including what they are seeking in their careers. For organisations, attracting and retaining talent becomes a growing challenge as they look to present themselves as an employer of choice.

Employer branding today, is an opportunity for employers to present a united front, alongside their corporate brand and culture, to show how the purpose of the organisation is manifested in the form of culture, said Ammara Naeem, Head of Client Success, Top Employers Institute.

Speaking with HRM Asia, she added, “Employer branding is usually depicted in the form of your EVP (Employee Value Proposition) – that speaks to everything an employee gets in exchange for their talent – just like your company’s value proposition does the same job for your customers.”

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1/2: JTC calls for ideas to boost Jurong Island’s sustainability efforts, circular economy

A two-year study to reduce the use of resources and transform Jurong Island into a sustainable energy and chemicals park – in line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 – was recently concluded.

Led by JTC, the Jurong Island Circular Economy (Jice) study analysed data on energy, water and chemical waste from 51 companies, to identify potential synergies that can reduce resource use at the system level.

JTC also called for sustainability solutions to current challenges, that would see more companies crowdsource ideas, as well as develop and test bed their technology on the island.

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2/2: Introducing Indonesia’s New Carbon Law

On 9 November 2021 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, President Jokowi affirmed Indonesia’s continued commitment to the Paris Agreement (Paris Agreement).

He announced he had signed Presidential Regulation No. 98 of 2021 on the Implementation of Carbon Economic Value to Achieve Nationally Determined Contribution Targets and Control over Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Relation to National Development (Regulation 98/2021), which, combined with Law No. 7 of 2021 on the Harmonisation of Taxation Regulations (Law 7/2021), sets out Indonesia’s carbon reduction road map (Carbon Road Map) towards net zero emissions (collectively, the Carbon Law).

The introduction of the Carbon Law is the next step in Indonesia’s plan to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) commitments to combating climate change under the Paris Agreement, which Indonesia ratified in 2016, and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060.

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