SINGAPORE: When it comes to staff retention, workers are more likely to stay with companies that offer flexible work arrangements (FWA), according to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Conditions of Employment report out on Wednesday (Jan 16).
These include part-time work, staggered start hours, and telecommuting.
The biennial study captures the conditions of employment faced by workers in 2017 and 2018, and covered a total of 3,700 establishments employing more than 1.3 million individuals between June to September last year.
In the last two years, more companies offered formal FWAs by allowing employees to work from home for extended periods of time, as well as ad-hoc FWAs by giving employees the flexibility to work from home on a case-by-case basis, the report said.
The proportion of firms offering at least one formal FWA increased from 50 per cent in 2017 to 53 per cent in 2018 while firms offering at least one ad-hoc FWA went up from 75 per cent to 84 per cent in the same period.
More employees are now in companies with FWAs.
Growing by two per cent, 72 per cent of employees work in companies that offer at least one formal FWA.
Up from 81 per cent, 87 per cent of employees now work in companies that offer at least one ad-hoc FWA at the same time period.
Among the formal FWAs, part time work remained the most prevalent followed by flexi-work or staggered hours.
Due to the differing nature of businesses, the types of FWAs offered varied across the different industries. Part-time work was the most preferred form of FWA for companies in manufacturing and services.
In the construction sector, flexi-time or staggered hours took precedence.
The report compares workplace practices against resignation rates, and ranks practices that have the greatest impact on employees quitting.
After FWA, increases in annual leave entitlement, and reductions in work-day per week were found to have the greatest impact on staff retention, said Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad at the Singapore Human Resources Institution Outlook Forum.
“In today’s digital age, employers can now share files, communicate with colleagues and collaborate on projects without the need to be physically at their desks in the office,” Mr Zaqy said.
“Companies that offer FWAs understand employees may have other responsibilities or out-of-work interests,” he added.
MORE LEAVE, MORE ON 5-DAY WORK WEEK
In 2018, the proportion of full-time employees given 14 days and below of paid annual leave fell by 3.5 per cent.
This is because more firms gave management and executives (M&Es) as well as rank-and-file (RAF) employers at least 15 days of annual leave, from 45 per cent in 2016 to 48 per cent in 2018, the report said.
“The proportion of employees on less than 15 days of annual leave also played a major role in firms’ resignation rate. Companies can sustain competitiveness by pre-empting resignations that are within their control via the provision of an adequate number of annual leaves,” the report said.
A higher proportion of M&Es enjoyed better leave benefits than RAF workers.
Three in four M&Es were entitled to 15 days and more of paid annual leave, while this entitlement only applied to three in ten RAF.
However, over the years, more firms offered 15 days and more of annual leave to RAF employees.
The proportion of RAF employees entitled to at least 15 days of annual leave went up from 23 per cent in 2016 to 29 per cent in 2018, with 15-21 days of annual leave experiencing an increase across all broad sectors
At the same time, the number of full-time employees on a five-day work week arrangement rose by 3.3 per cent to 51.4 per cent. This additional was seen across sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and services.
More establishments are now offering marriage leave and family care leave benefits even though they are non-statutory.
Over the last decade, family care leave, child sick leave and marriage leave saw the greatest increase.
20.3 per cent of companies now offer paid family care leave as opposed to 5.9 per cent in 2008.
13.8 per cent of companies now offer paid child sick leave compared to 8.3 per cent in the same period.
74.9 per cent of companies now offer paid marriage leave than 70.2 per cent at the same time.
“Reflecting our ageing population, and the changing profile and demographics of employees, the provision of family care leave (e.g. taking care of ageing parents) and marriage leave benefits increased,” the report said.
Concurrently, decreases were seen in the provision of other types of non-statutory leave types as companies adjust to ensure that they are applicable and relevant to employees.