'Compressed week': The HR trend sweeping across Singapore

MOM has defined a whole new way of working

'Compressed week': The HR trend sweeping across Singapore

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) defined a compressed work schedule as a condensed version of the standard five-day work week where employees report to work for a reduced number of days with the same total hours.

"In such arrangements, the employee does not need to contemplate reducing his income in exchange for greater flexibility in workdays, since the actual workload and total hours worked in a week do not differ from that of a person on a standard work-week," MOM said in a statement on Friday.

One in 10 establishments in Singapore offered compressed work weeks to their employees in 2020, according to MOM, and if other workplaces want to follow their footsteps, they may head over the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices' (TAFEP) website.

TAFEP's website explored four different kinds compressed work week for workplaces:

  1. 4/40 Schedule. Employees work four 10-hour days and take their fifth day off. This is the most appropriate for office-based jobs that do not require many hours of overtime.

  1. 9/80 Schedule. Employees work 80 hours in nine days, where most employees work eight days with nine-hour shifts and one day of an eight-hour shift. Their 10th day will then become a day off.

  1. 12-hour Shift Schedule under a 3-week Cycle. TAFEP said employees will work longer hours in exchange of fewer workdays under this scheme.

  1. 5-4/9 Schedule. Employees work five days of nine-hour shifts, followed by a week of four days with nine-hours shifts. This will give them a day off every other week. 

Read more: Will you adopt a four-day work week?

TAFEP, however, warned that a compressed work schedule may not be suitable for organisations with daily deadlines or businesses that always need employees’ presence on-site. It urged employees to check out the following guidelines before implementing a compressed work week:

  1. Take note of statutory guidelines on number of hours worked and rest required for employees under the Employment Act.
  2. Conduct cost-benefit analysis before starting a pilot study.
  3. Accomplish TAFEP's sample checklist on factors to consider for compressed work schedule.
  4. Provide employees with a self-assessment form where they can evaluate if a compressed work schedule is suitable for them.

MOM said that the compressed work week is more suitable for certain working arrangements, and there are other FWAs available for organisations.

"In promoting workplace flexibility, we encourage companies to implement the form of FWAs that best suits their business and employees' needs," MOM said. It added that the government will continue working with tripartite partners and its Work-Life Ambassadors to "promote and support the provision of FWAs."

A study from Milieu Insight previously revealed that 76% of Singaporeans want a four-day work week policy applied for their work, adding that they do not want a cut on their salary should the scheme be implemented in their workplace.

*Photos courtesy of TAFEP’s website

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