SINGAPORE: A new tripartite standard to encourage flexible work arrangements was launched by Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo on Friday (Oct 6), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a press release.
Jointly developed by MOM, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation, the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements aims to make sure employees are better able to benefit from such arrangements.
These types of arrangements include part-time work and job-sharing, staggered hours and a shorter working week, as well as telecommuting.
Speaking at the launch, Mrs Teo said that many employees do not want to stop working even when they have other responsibilities.
“They would prefer to continue working and at the same time meet their family or personal commitments,” Mrs Teo added.
More than 250 companies have signed up to the standard and at least one in five of which are local small- and medium-sized enterprises, according to MOM. Together the companies employ 210,000 employees.
While many companies offer flexible work arrangements, many employees are not aware of the types of arrangements that are available or how to request for them, said MOM.
Those who do apply for these work arrangements may not be objectively evaluated and if requests are turned down there is often no further discussion of suitable alternatives, MOM added.
Employers that adopt the new standard will inform their employees of the different types of flexible work arrangements available, as well as how to request them and what alternatives there are if their requests are turned down.
Under the new standard, companies will appoint a senior management member to champion flexible work arrangements, MOM said.
When an employee requests for a flexible work arrangement, they will be informed about the different types on offer and how to request them, as well as what is expected of them under those arrangements.
Trained supervisors will also objectively evaluate employees' applications and manage and track those who are on flexible work arrangements.
MOM added that the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) will work with employers who wish to adopt the new standard and conduct relevant workshops to help them with this.
Those who have adopted the Standard will be listed on TAFEP’s website and can use a logo that identifies them as progressive employers for their recruitment and marketing efforts.
Funding via the WorkPro Work-Life Grant is available for companies who want to adopt the new standard.
One company that has adopted this standard is local precision engineering company Feinmetall Singapore.
It started implementing flexible work arrangements January 2017.
Feinmentall’s General Manager Mr Sam Chee Wah said taking up the Tripartite Standard represents the company’s formal commitment to flexible work arrangements.
Staff member, Steven Ngo, who is an engineer for sales and application and a father of two took up flexible work arrangements because he wanted to spend more time with his children.
“I had to start work at 8am. So let's say my son, I cannot send him to school 7.15, 7.20 and then I rush here. Usually I won't be able to make it on time.”
Now, Mr Ngo starts work half an hour later, giving him ample time to send his son to school in the mornings.
Mr Sam also addressed concerns employers have of employees abusing flexible work arrangements.
“they should have a broader perspective ... they should trust the employee and manage them by key performance indices rather than by face time,” he said.
Mrs Teo also added that there was a perception that flexible work arrangements are difficult to implement.
Addressing Feinmetal employees at the launch, she said: “Only big companies with a lot of resources then will be able to introduce it. But I think Feinmetall shows very well that it can be done even though you are not very big.”