Flexi-work 'more common' in Singapore: MOM

Such arrangements are gaining traction here, says minister of manpower

Flexi-work 'more common' in Singapore: MOM

As calls for flexi-work grow louder in Singapore, how many employers are actually offering the benefit?

Flexible work arrangements have become “more common” in Singapore, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question on the average number of employers offering flexi-work, as well as how Singapore compares with other countries in providing the benefit.

She shared that based on a 2018 Ministry of Manpower (MOM) survey, about seven in 10 employees in Singapore now work in companies that offer at least one formal flexi-work arrangement, such as part-time work and flexi-time or staggered hours.

In addition, about nine in 10 employees work in companies that allow their employees to take unplanned time off to attend to personal matters, ad-hoc teleworking or both.

This compares favourably to the experience of other OECD countries. A 2016 OECD report covering 35 European countries found that three in four employees have access to some form of flexibility, including taking one or two hours off for personal reasons.

In another 2017 OECD report, about 55% of female and 53% of male employees in the US had access to flexibility options.

READ MORE: How many SG employees are in flexible working arrangements?

“Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) benefit both employees and employers,” Teo said. “For employees, FWAs allow them to better manage their obligations at work and their personal needs such as caregiving.

“For employers, studies have found that FWAs result in better employee engagement, reduced employee turnover and increased productivity.”

She added that a 2018 MOM study also found that among workplace practices, availability of flexi-work options had the greatest impact on staff retention.

Although the outlook seems optimistic, there’s still much to be done. This is why MOM launched the Tripartite Standard on FWAs in 2017 to facilitate and support employers who adopt the practice.

“While [the findings are] encouraging, there is room for workplace cultures to become even more progressive,” she said.

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