Permanent flexible work arrangements eyed in Singapore

SINGAPORE: Singaporean companies are encouraged to offer employees flexible work arrangements (FWAs) despite the easing of COVID-19 measures.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) called on employers to make FWAs "a permanent feature of the workplace" to help workers achieve work-life balance, high engagement, and increased productivity.

They explained that FWAs were key to increased workplace resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. They added that such work setup is considered a part of the future of work for companies worldwide.

"Employers who offer FWAs will also benefit from talent attraction and retention. In addition, these employers will be able to tap on a larger pool of manpower, such as caregivers and seniors, who might otherwise not be able to remain in or join the workforce," the tripartite partners said in a statement.

Among their recommendations for the implementation of FWAs are redesigning jobs, restructuring workplaces, managing such arrangements in line with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, and ad-hoc or partial telecommuting.

The tripartite partners emphasized that workers should take advantage of the FWAs responsible and "ensure continued work productivity."

"FWAs are not an entitlement and the requirements of the job take precedence," they noted. "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."

Employees started returning to the workplace in April after the easing of COVID-19 measures.

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