Singapore employers encouraged to extend flexible work

Employers are advised to implement a work-from-home policy for staff

Singapore employers encouraged to extend flexible work

Employers across Singapore are being urged by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to continue or make permanent the flexible work arrangements (FWAs) implemented in their organisations.

"Employers are strongly encouraged to continue offering FWAs to employees, and to promote FWAs as a permanent feature of the workplace," said MOM in a statement.

According to the ministry, FWAs help employees achieve work-life balance that promotes a more engaged and productive workforce that could benefit organisations. It added that FWAs are an advantage when it comes to retaining and attracting more talent for an organisation, while also allowing employers to tap on a larger pool of manpower who might not be able to remain or join the workforce.

"To ensure operational effectiveness and sustainability in the long-run, employers should regularly engage with their employees in deciding on the FWAs that best suit business needs and work-life needs," advised the ministry.

It also issued the following recommendations for employers and employees who will continue implementing FWAs:

  • Employers should continue to make efforts to provide flexibility for employees, including redesigning jobs where needed, while taking into consideration business needs.
  • Employers should continue to manage, assess, appraise, and remunerate employees who use FWAs fairly and objectively, in line with the principles in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
  • Employees should use FWAs responsibly and ensure continued work productivity. FWAs are not an entitlement and the requirements of the job take precedence.
  • Trust should also be maintained between employers and employees, through regular and open communication to discuss on what FWAs are practical and sustainable, and the organisational outcomes and deliverables that need to be met.

According to the ministry, public service agencies will take the lead in adopting FWAs. This means that eligible public officers may be able allowed to telecommute for an average of two days a week.

"The Public Service will also seek to develop new supervisory skills in terms of managing teams effectively in a hybrid work environment," the ministry said.

Read more: Singapore employers warm up to flexi-work

Work from home encouraged

Telecommuting or working from home is one form of FWA that is recommended by the ministry, which also outlined several considerations for employers mulling the scheme.

According to the ministry, employers may still require their staff to report to office for meetings and foster team collaboration. However, they should also permit telecommuting for tasks that do not need to be carried out onsite.

Employers may also consider redesigning jobs to adopt telecommuting, such as using technology to transform work and allow duties traditionally done at the office to be carried out offsite. They may also consider redesigning their workspaces to "leverage more satellite offices or co-working spaces, to enable employees to work closer to home."

They are also advised to consider the need for culture and team building in coming up with their organisation's telecommuting policy for employees.

Aside from working from home, there are other forms of FWAs that can be carried out, such as flexi-time and flexi-load schemes.

To support employers should they decide to transition, the government has a published guidebooks that can be used as reference in policymaking for organisations.

In addition, a Tripartite Guidelines will also be developed by the tripartite partners by 2024. The guidelines will outline the practices employers should adopt to "assess and communicate decisions on FWA requests."

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