Policies & Guidelines
To protect and champion the interests of the business community, it is important for SBF to engage members on pertinent business issues and concerns, as well as keep members abreast of the latest changes in government regulations and policies. Members are also encouraged to provide their feedback to government agencies and SBF to create a conducive and pro-business environment.
1. Ministry of Trade and Industry's Suspension of Activities at Workplace Premises to Reduce COVID-19 Transmission (Updated as of 3 April)
FAQs on the suspension of workplace activities, list of essential services and related supply chains
2. Guide on Business Continuity Planning for COVID-19 (3rd Edition) (Updated as of 2 April)
Guidelines to help businesses on business continuity planning in response to COVID-19
3. Ministry of Finance's Media Release on Obligation for Property Owners to Pass on Property Tax Rebate to Tenants (Updated as of 2 April)
An upcoming legislative will require property owners to pass on property tax rebates in full
4. International Business Advisory on COVID-19 (Updated as of 1 April)
List of latest notices for companies to monitor the COVID-19 development in global key markets. For all other regions, click here.
5. Ministry of Law's Press Release on Temporary Relief for Inability to Perform Contractual Obligations due to COVID-19 (Updated as of 1 April)
Financial relief aimed to provide temporary and targeted protection for businesses and individuals regarding non-fulfillment of contractual agreements
6. Monetary Authority of Singapore's Press Release on Supporting Individuals and SMEs Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated as of 31 March)
Measures to help ease the financial strain on individuals and SMEs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
7. Ministry of Manpower's Press Release on Sustainable Housing Options for Workers Usually Housed in Malaysia (Updated as of 25 March)
Advice for affected employers to look for more sustainable housing options in Singapore for workers usually housed in Malaysia
8. Ministry of Manpower's Press Release on Measures to Prevent Congregations of Foreign Workers and Foreign Domestic Workers (Updated as of 25 March)
Measures to prevent congregations of foreign workers and foreign domestic workers
9. Enterprise Singapore's Advisory on COVID-19 for Businesses (Updated as of 24 March)
Additional precautionary measures for businesses to take to reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 into Singapore
10. Ministry of Manpower's Press Release on Further Measures to Help Companies Cope with COVID-19 Situation (Updated as of 24 March)
Introduction of further measures to help businesses cope during the COVID-19 situation
11. Ministry of Manpower's Temporary Housing Support (THS) for employers affected by Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (Updated as of 24 March)
Eligible employers can apply for the Temporary Housing Support to defray the costs of short-term housing for affected workers
12. Ministry of Health's Advisory on Measures to Curb Further Importation Cases of COVID-19 (Updated as of 18 March)
Advisory to defer all travel abroad and the implementation of 14-day Stay-Home Notice for all travellers
13. Ministry of Manpower's Advisory on Entry Approvals and Stay-Home Notices for New and Existing Work Pass Holders (Updated as of 18 March)
Work pass holders are required to apply for entry approval online and serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice upon arrival
14. Ministry of Manpower's Press Release on Accommodating Workers Affected by Lockdown in Malaysia (Updated as of 17 March)
Accommodation for affected workers who commute across the Singapore-Malaysia border frequently
15. Ministry of Manpower's Advisory for Employers and Employees for Non-Essential Travel in Response to Updated Travel Advisory (Updated as of 16 March)
Employers and employees to defer all non-essential travel to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection while overseas
16. Ministry of Manpower's Advisory on work pass holders with travel history to ASEAN, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (Updated as of 15 March)
Implementation of Stay-Home Notices to work pass holders with travel history to affected countries
17. 应对2019冠状病毒疾病 (COVID-19) 的业务持续计划指南 (第二版) (Updated as of 7 Feb)
Guidelines to help businesses on business continuity planning in response to COVID-19 (Chinese version)
18. SNEF-SBF Joint Advisory on Workplace Measures to Manage the COVID-19 Situation (Updated as of 2 Feb)
Guidelines for employees on personal hygiene and measures to take if they are feeling unwell
Precautionary measures to take for co-sharing of spaces with individuals on Leave of Absence
Put together by the Government Procurement Working Group of the SBF-led SME Committee, the guide outlines essential steps for business keen on tendering for Government contracts and to help SMEs leverage growth opportunities in government procurement (GP) projects.
New Regulatory Requirement for Companies and LLPs – More transparency in the ownership and control of corporate entities On 10 March 2017, Parliament passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill and Limited Liability Partnerships (Amendment) Bill. The amendments in these Bills will take effect in phases. A key legislative amendment which takes effect from 31 Mar 2017 requires all corporate entities, namely companies, foreign companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) (unless exempted by legislation1 ) to maintain a register of beneficial owners (termed as registrable "controllers"). Companies will also be required to maintain a register of nominee directors.
Companies filing XBRL financial statements with ACRA are reminded to ensure that the information filed is accurate and complete. This is crucial as the information filed becomes a public record.
For past XBRL filings, companies should take appropriate steps such as filing a Notice of Error (NOE) to rectify any errors noted as soon as possible. Companies can refer to the list of common filing errors, compiled from past reviews of XBRL financial statements filed with ACRA.
Since 2013, ACRA has, in collaboration with their professional partners, provided training courses to help companies prepare their financials in full XBRL format at a heavily subsidised rate. Over 5,000 participants have attended these courses to-date. With the demand for such courses declining, these training subsidies will be phased out by 31 December 2016.
Participants applying for training subsidies (which are available for courses conducted before 31 December 2016) are strongly encouraged to submit their subsidy application forms to their respective training providers before 31 December 2016. This is to ensure that these applications are reviewed and approved in time.
For information on the list of training providers conducting XBRL training courses, please click here.
The United States have put in place new restrictions under their Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). From 21 January 2016, persons with a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTAs) who (a) have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the last five years; or (b) are dual citizens of VWP countries and the four said countries, will not be eligible to travel to the US under the VWP. The latest restrictions, which came into effect on 21 January 2016, do not bar travel to the US per se but require travellers from VWP countries to obtain a visa to enter US should they fulfil either or both of the afore-mentioned requirements.
For more information, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has launched its first handbook titled “ACRA & I – Being an Effective Director”.
The handbook is written for new or aspiring directors as well as those who have no formal training to help them better understand their responsibilities and duties. It also serves as a practical hands-on guide for these directors on the know-how in performing their statutory duties and meeting their legal and compliance requirements. The director’s handbook is launched as a part of ACRA’s suite of initiatives in the promotion of voluntary compliance among companies.
Written from a regulator’s perspective and in a style that is easy to read, the handbook is based on ACRA’s past experiences and dealings with directors in default. The handbook provides information such as the requirements of directors, common statutory requirements under the Companies Act, passing of resolutions, capital maintenance, fiduciary duties, closing of company and many more. Real examples of non-compliance by directors and companies and the lessons learnt are also featured in the handbook, so as to serve as useful reference points for directors and professional advisers of companies. ACRA also engaged the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), the Singapore Association of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (SAICSA) and Singapore Compact for CSR to contribute on chapters on Preparation of Financial Statements, the Company Secretary and Corporate Social Responsibility.
The softcopy is available for free download.
A hardcopy is available for sale at the ACRA office, 10 Anson Road, #05-01/15, International Plaza.
Before an organisation starts to send any marketing message to a Singapore telephone number, it should check that: the number it is sending/calling to is not registered with the DNC Registry; the messages it is sending contain clear and accurate information identifying the organisation, as well as its contact details; and if making a phone call, the telephone number it is making the call from is not concealed.
The DNC Registry contains three separate Registers of Singapore telephone numbers for voice calls, text messages (SMS/MMS/text) and faxes, which the organisation can check against. To check, the organisation shall submit a list of the telephone numbers that it is planning to send the messages to. The DNC Registry will then indicate on the list, whether each number is in any of the Registers.
The organisation may then send its marketing messages to the numbers that are not in the relevant Registers. The organisation may rely on the information given by the DNC Registry on whether any number is registered on any of the Registers for up to 30 days. If the organisation intends to send the marketing message after the 30 days has lapsed, it must submit its list of numbers to the DNC registry again. To allow organisations to familiarise themselves with the requirements relating to the DNC registry, the prescribed duration (i.e. the 30 days referred to above) will be 60 days instead of 30 days for the first six months of the DNC Registry's operations.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced new rules that require employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders. Firms with discriminatory hiring practices will be subject to additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed. These changes will reinforce expectations for employers to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities and enhance job market transparency.
The new rules, known as the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), draw on feedback from Singaporeans who have submitted their views to MOM, through MOM’s Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) on Jobs, and from key stakeholders such as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and employer groups.
Employers looking to apply to hire an Employment Pass (EP) holder will have to advertise its vacancies on a new Government jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for at least 14 days prior to their application, starting from 1 August next year.
This rule is applicable to jobs paying up to $12,000 a month, under the Fair Consideration Framework, while small firms with 25 or fewer employees, and those jobs which pay a fixed monthly salary of S$12,000 and above, will be exempted from the advertising requirement.
Companies that do not comply will not have their EP application approved, while those with disproportionately low numbers of Singaporeans at the PME level or are repeated complained of nationality-discrimination in their hiring will attract additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed.
Please click here for more information about the framework.
The FDA report provides analysis on four key financial ratios which covers:
Trend analysis up to 5 years on the performance of a selected company
Benchmarking your selected company's performance against industry medians and up to 3 peer companies
ACRA has also developed new tips and guidance to help companies better prepare 2nd year XBRL financial statements with the BizFinx preparation tool.
More details can be found at this announcement on the BizFinx portal through this link.
Monthly Variable Component or MVC is a "standby" component to be used by employers to bring down wage costs in sudden and severe business downturns to survive and save jobs.
With the reduction of CPF contribution rate, there is little room to adjust wage cost through CPF cut in the future. Employers therefore should get ready MVC as an "emergency lever" to be used in bad times.
Handbook on how to implement a flexible wage system that includes MVC