How can the government help firms cultivate family-friendly workplaces?

Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say counts the ways

How can the government help firms cultivate family-friendly workplaces?

As part of Singapore’s efforts to promote progressive labour practices, Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say said on Tuesday the government is ready to provide companies with the right resources to cultivate more family-friendly workplaces. 

Among other things, he identified flexible working arrangements (FWAs) as essential measures for building family-friendly environments – measures that are becoming increasingly prevalent among Singaporean companies.

These FWAs include flexibility in the scheduling of hours worked, the amount of hours worked, and the place of work. Companies providing these measures might offer compressed workweeks, part time work, the option to work from home, and other similar arrangements.

Nearly half (47%) of establishments offered these measures last year compared to 38% in 2011. As a result, around 7 in 10 Singaporean workers enjoy formal FWAs, excluding those working for companies that offer them on an ad-hoc basis.

Tripartite partners are jointly developing a Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements to help employees identify companies with strong support for FWAs, Lim said.

He also mentioned the WorkPro Work-Life Grant, a government grant that supports employers’ efforts to foster more family-friendly workplaces. Firms can tap on these grants to set up services for employees with special needs, such as private lactation rooms at the workplace.

About 60% of working Singaporean mothers had access to private lactation rooms or spaces at their workplaces, according to a survey conducted last year by NTUC. This marked a sharp rise from 35% in 2013. 

On the point of mental health, HR personnel can reach out to the Health Promotion Board, which offers Management Training Workshops specializing in recognizing common mental health issues like depression among employees. This will help companies provide appropriate emotional support to their employees, said Lim.

“Both employers and employees benefit from family-friendly workplaces,” he said. “MOM will continue to work with our tripartite partners to grow the community of progressive employers with family-friendly workplaces.”



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