NOTICE PAPER NO. 1026
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 7 MARCH 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang
MP for Nee Soon GRC
Question No. 2621
To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry monitors manpower policies in hospitals with respect to nurses’ and doctors’ rest days and off days for compliance with the Employment Act; (b) whether the present Omicron COVID-19 wave constitutes a situation under section 38(2) of the Employment Act which allows an employer to require an employee to exceed the limit of hours worked and to work on a rest day; and (c) how it ensures nurses and doctors have sufficient rest.
The rest day provisions and work hour limits for public healthcare workers are governed by the Employment Act. For those healthcare workers that are not covered by the Employment Act, their rest day provisions and work hour limits are set out in the public healthcare clusters’ employment contracts.
COVID-19 has stretched our healthcare resources and placed a heavy burden on our healthcare staff. All our public healthcare workers have been working doubly hard during this time of crisis. Whenever there is essential and urgent need that requires overtime work, employers will accord overtime pay as required by Section 38 of the Act.
We urge cooperation and understanding from everyone as the hospitals reduced non-urgent and non-life-threatening care treatments to manage the current workload, decant those who need less intensive care to Community Treatment Facilities and curtailed visitations to hospitals. Public healthcare clusters have allowed staff to rest and recharge by taking days off, including taking annual leave, whenever possible. MOH is also supporting them by doing whatever we can and stepping up on vaccination. We hope to turn the corner soon from this current wave of COVID-19 infections.