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More incentives for flexiwork, healthy workplaces: Dr Khor

New WorkPro enhancements include more incentives for companies which implement flexible work arrangements and provide healthy workplaces for their mature employees.

SINGAPORE: Come July, there will be more incentives for companies to implement health programmes and flexible work arrangements.

This is because the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workforce Development Agency (WDA) on Wednesday (June 18) announced enhancements to the WorkPro programme, specifically the Age Management and Work-Life Grants categories, which will take effect from July 1, 2014.

WorkPro was first launched by MOM and WDA in April 2013 to augment local manpower, foster progressive workplaces and strengthen the Singapore core in our workforce.

INCENTIVISING FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, Dr Amy Khor, who announced the enhancements at the Age Management Seminar on Wednesday, said: "Currently, the Work-Life Grant co-funds employers for up to S$40,000 for expenditure on implementing FWAs. However, we recognise that employers may not necessarily need to incur expenses to implement FWAs."

To encourage more employers to implement such flexible work initiatives, enhancements to Work-Life Grant will allow them to try out these programmes, identify which works best, then implement them company-wide, Dr Khor added.

Under the new enhancements, employers will be eligible for a S$10,000 incentive to pilot new flexible work arrangements (FWA) in their companies. Should they proceed to implement the arrangements across the company, they stand to receive an additional S$10,000.

Employers will receive a total funding of S$40,000 for implementing new FWAs, including the reimbursement of expenses incurred during the pilot and company-wide implementation, WDA said.

Another enhancement made will be to cater for different levels of FWA utilisation among businesses. Currently, employers receive up to S$40,000 a year if they have 30 per cent of their workers on flexible work arrangements. After the changes kick in, companies with 20 per cent of workers on such arrangements will qualify for a cash incentive of up to S$25,000 per year, the agency said.

Employers can potentially receive up to S$120,000 in total if they sustain or improve FWA utilisation rates over three years, the WDA added.

HEALTHY WORKPLACES FOR MATURE WORKERS

The WDA on Wednesday also inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Health Promotion Board to launch a new standardised Health and Wellness Programme, which will be covered under the Age Management Grant.

The Health and Wellness Programme would require an appointed health provider to administer a survey to understand the health conditions and practices of mature workers within the company. The findings will then help in identifying suitable health-related workshops for these workers, the WDA said.

WDA and HPB will also introduce the Workplace Health Promotion Facilitator's Course under the Age Management Grant.

This means all employers that tap on the grant will be required to send one staff for the Facilitator's Course, which would equip them with the expertise to conduct health assessments and the skills to plan, design, evaluate and improve workplace health programmes, WDA said.

Six employers were also recognised at Wednesday's seminar for implementing age management practices through the WorkPro scheme, and had successfully recruited, trained and retained their mature employees, the agency added.

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