Reed Smith Client Alerts

Reed Smith LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore under the name and style, Reed Smith Pte Ltd (hereafter collectively, "Reed Smith"). Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with Reed Smith's Formal Law Alliance partner in Singapore, Resource Law LLC, where necessary. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on 30 January, 2020, that the outbreak of 2019 nCoV (novel coronavirus) is a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern." This is, in part, an acknowledgement of the geographic spread of the virus and the need for intensified support for preparation and response, especially in vulnerable countries and regions. Further information is available in the WHO statement. On 31 January, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States also declared a public health emergency for the U.S.

Authors: Dora Wang Amy Yin Cindy Shen Catherine Jing Asha Sharma Steve Tam Charmian Aw Evelyn Dai Carolyn Chia (Resource Law LLC)

This alert focuses on issues relating to data privacy in an employment context. We outline common issues that businesses operating in the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China), Hong Kong and Singapore are likely to face arising from the outbreak of a novel type of coronavirus. The issues that we have identified are not meant to be exhaustive. As this is a developing situation, governments are revising their responses to mitigate the emerging risk to public health.

As multinational corporations (MNCs) doing business in regions affected by the novel coronavirus strive to ensure the health and safety of their employees, they must be aware of the various restrictions and requirements imposed on them for the collection, use, disclosure and retention of employee personal data. It is not advisable for MNCs to adopt the same measures across jurisdictions, as each jurisdiction has its own distinct requirements and limitations.

While this commentary is focussed on the PRC, Hong Kong and Singapore, as these jurisdictions have comprehensive and relatively active regulation and enforcement, similar issues and implications are likely to apply across other jurisdictions in Southeast Asia, where the laws are fragmented and diverse. We invite readers to contact us directly with questions regarding other jurisdictions in Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as any other issues not addressed below.