Overcoming COVID-19 Together: Implementation of Staggered Rest Days for Work Permit Holders and S Pass Holders in the Construction Sector

13 Aug 2020

Ref No.: 130820 (2)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Overcoming COVID-19 Together: Implementation of Staggered Rest Days for Work Permit Holders and S Pass Holders in the Construction Sector

In addition to our circular sent earlier [Ref No.: 130820 (1)], ASPRI would like to share with you BCA-MOM Joint Circular on the Implementation of Staggered Rest Days for Work Permit Holders and S Pass Holders in the Construction Sector from 19th August 2020.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the construction sector. The Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) of the built environment value chain, has worked closely with the Government to help the industry restart safely and minimise the risk and work disruptions from COVID-19. Besides improved health monitoring and surveillance in the dormitories, measures such as cohorting of workers at worksites are necessary to reduce the risk of transmission and impact of possible disruptions.  

It is also critical to minimise the risk of transmissions during social activities on rest days. Large group gatherings of extended periods put individuals at greater risk as safe distancing will be harder to achieve. For the workers’ own protection, it helps to stagger the rest days of construction sector Work Permit Holders and S Pass holders across the entire week. This will spread out the number of workers at any particular location on any given day, prevent large gatherings, and reduce the risk of cross-infection.  

The CIJC and TACs support the implementation of staggered rest days as it will help workers enjoy their rest days safely and make business operations more sustainable.  

Workers deployed to some projects will need to rest on Sundays due to regulatory restrictions e.g. worksites that are within 150m from residential estates (due to NEA’s No Work Rule), and renovation projects. Workers deployed to other projects will therefore have to rest between Monday and Saturday.  

Based on the above considerations, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have worked closely with TACs to develop the following implementation approach, taking into account business needs:

Types of ActivitiesRest Day (including main-con, sub-con or specialist sub-con)
1. Construction sites subjected to NEA’s No Work Rule
2. Renovation of residential premises
1. Construction sites not subjected to NEA’s No Work Rule, including process construction sites BCA will assign one day within Monday to Saturday
1. Specialist contractors deployed to multiple projects
2. Facilities management including Lift & Escalator maintenance 
Employer to designate one day between Monday and Saturday (can be different days) for each of their WPH and S Pass holders*
*Instructions on how to do so will be shared in a separate notification letter

BCA will begin notifying projects and firms of their rest days from 19 August 2020. We understand that firms may require time to review their manpower deployment and make adjustments if the rest day is on a different day than currently practiced: – a one-month grace period will be given to implement the new rest days.    

Employers will be able to view and update the rest days for their workers via MOM’s Safe@Work system from 19 August 2020 onwards.  

Concurrently, MOM will be trialing an exit pass system for workers staying at the dormitories to visit the Recreational Centres on their rest day. This will further spread out the number of workers from dormitories who would be at the Recreational Centres at any given time and minimise large crowds. The trial will enable MOM to obtain feedback from workers and dormitory operators and resolve any teething issues with the exit pass system. MOM will provide more details of the system in due course.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has required all of us to adopt new practices. The effort put in by all our stakeholders to rise to the occasion and make the necessary changes are greatly appreciated. BCA and MOM will review the need for staggered days when the COVID-19 pandemic has abated. Together, we can restart our industries safely and emerge stronger.  

For more details, kindly refer to the appended Joint Circular and FAQ on Staggered Rest Days for PCM sector.