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Flexible work arrangements to be normalised in upcoming guidelines: Gan Siow Huang

Flexible work arrangements to be normalised in upcoming guidelines: Gan Siow Huang
Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siong Huang speaking to AsiaOne employee Lim Ke Wei during her visit to the AsiaOne office on Wednesday.
PHOTO: AsiaOne

One of the goals of Singapore's?tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangements (FWAs) is to normalise the practice of asking for them, said Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang today (Jan 31).?

Gan was speaking to the media during a visit to AsiaOne's office on Wednesday, together with members of a?tripartite workgroup formed last year?to develop a set of guidelines on FWAs?in Singapore.?

These guidelines are to be introduced later this year.?

The 11-member workgroup?is jointly chaired by Gan, Yeo Wan Ling, NTUC’s women and family unit and its small-and-medium enterprise unit; and Edwin Ng,?honorary secretary of the?Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).?

In the media event today, Gan pointed out?that some employees may be hesitant about asking for FWAs as they fear being perceived as being less committed to their jobs.?

"We hope that employees who genuinely need flexible work arrangements will feel that it is okay, that it is acceptable and easy for them to request for FWAs," she said.?

On the other hand, there will be?employers concerned about?dips in productivity should FWAs be implemented, she noted.?

"But we actually see that there are opportunities for employers to be creative with and also receptive to different types of FWA," she said, adding that FWAs could help companies when it comes to recruitment and talent retention.

Speaking more about what those guidelines will entail, Gan said that it will include the setting up of processes and templates for employers to use when processing FWA requests.?

The tripartite workgroup, she added, is also looking into grants for companies to acquire the resources?needed to implement FWA, such as IT or HR solutions.?

Future FWA arrangements could even?include flexible timings and flexible workloads - which could help caregivers as well as frontline and shift workers,?said Gan.??

"What we really hope to see is that there will be further adoption of FWA?at workplaces. This will be helpful for both employees and employers. It's about being able to better balance work and life needs, especially for those who are caregivers," she said.?

Yeo, who was also present at the media event, echoed the view that FWA would benefit caregivers.?

She noted that a survey conducted by NTUC showed that close to 90 per cent of workers with caregiving responsibilities said that FWAs are the most preferred way for them to remain in their jobs.?

"Many are seeking balance when it comes to what they have to do at work with their caregiving responsibilities... Flexible work arrangements are one of the most sustainable ways to achieve?this," she said.?

'People form the heartbeat of the company'

AsiaOne implemented a FWA system for its employees in?2022, where?each employee is allowed at least six days of FWA every month.?

There are also flexi-load and flexi-time arrangements?available.?

Sean Ler, chief executive officer of AsiaOne, shared that one of the biggest motivations for introducing FWA?was to allow employees to adapt to the changing needs in their personal lives.?

"People form the heartbeat of the company. Therefore we must?recognise that people may be faced with challenges from different situations at different points of their lives.?FWA allows employees to adapt to the changes in their lives, and allow companies to retain talent and maintain productivity," he said.?

Toh Lan Sze, director of Digital Campaigns Managements?at AsiaOne, feels?that the FWA system allows her to juggle both her work responsibilities and family.?

"The work-life balance is there, I can communicate with my colleagues via Zoom and take care of my family," she said.?

READ ALSO:?WP's Louis Chua wants to enshrine flexi-work arrangements into law as a step to 'protect workers'

claudiatan@asiaone.com

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