Home Based Business
A hot topic recently is the apparent clarification of the prohibition on Home Based Businesses. Ministry for Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry for Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) have come out with a reply to Berita Harian on 25 April 2020, essentially stating the following points:
Unless the Home Based Business can abide by ALL of the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the COVID-19(Temporary measures) Act 2020, it cannot operate;
For example: if the Home Based Business only operates online and does not need the owner or its staff to leave their respective home. The Home Based Business also cannot involve any visitors, customers, and third party delivery services to come to the premises for take and/or deliver products; and
Government Agencies would take strict enforcement against any Home Based Business who contravenes the guidelines and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020. First offenders would face a fine of $1,000.
Whilst there are still petitions for exemptions and clarification, the more pertinent issue is the practical measures Home Based Businesses should take. Since most Home Based Businesses would fall under the prohibitions, there would be two (2) big issues that would arise. Firstly, the issue of cost already incurred from orders already taken and situations where the business already receives monies from customers. Again, whilst there are many commentaries on what are the legal entitlement for each party, the general stance is that the best measure is communication on both parties on the best solution to steer the business away from any criminal liability for continuing its business. Several options can be workshopped including partial or full refunds, delayed production and delivery of items, and/or substitution of services. Should your Home Based Business require clarifications on the above and/or are facing prosecution, feel free to contact our legal experts at 6240 6901 or to book an appointment.
In addition, please note that should your Home Based Business require some form of temporary relief to keep it going, our President Halimah Yacob has released a statement that Home Based Businesses would “automatically qualify for Temporary Relief Fund upon registration with the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CMCCI).”