SINGAPORE: The importance of having flexible work arrangements was underlined at a dialogue on Feb 20 (Tuesday) between the government, unions, and employers.

Given Singapore’s ageing society and current labour market conditions, it is all the more crucial for companies to adopt flexible working schemes, said Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang.

Ms Gan was one of the panellists at the dialogue on Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests (TG-FWAR) at Furama City Centre.

The other two panellists were Mr Edwin Ng, honorary secretary of the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), and Ms Yeo Wan Ling, NTUC assistant secretary-general.

In a report on the dialogue, 8world cited a MOM survey showing that over 70 per cent of companies agree that flexible work schemes may help attract and retain talent.

It added that the survey showed that better flexibility would attract two in five Singaporean workers to change jobs and that over one in five local employees have quit their jobs because of a lack of flexible arrangements.

See also  "Should you negotiate pay for your first fresh grad job?" — Fresh grad asks Singaporeans for career advice

These figures align with those from surveys carried out by Randstad in 2022 and 2023.

Read also: Job switching in Singapore back to pre-Covid levels; over 40% will quit jobs for work-life balance

During the dialogue, Ms Gan pointed out that flexible work arrangements mean more than merely working from home; they also include time-based flexibility.

Schemes such as these let people have good careers alongside fulfilling personal and family lives, The Straits Times quotes her as saying.

However, echoing MOM’s past remarks, she also said that companies cannot adopt a “one size fits all” model.

Ms Gan, Mr Ng, and Ms Yeo head a workgroup formed last year to draft guidelines for putting flexible work arrangements in place, which will be launched this year.

“While there is general consensus on the benefits of FWAs, we also heard views on the need for the Tripartite Guidelines to strike a balance between accommodating employees’ FWA requests and ensuring business continuity.

See also  Majority of local uni grads find jobs quickly as median monthly salaries also rise

We will continue our engagements and take your feedback into consideration as we work on the Tripartite Guidelines,” Ms Gan said in December.

“We do not want to go towards legislation and become adversarial in the workplace. Having the guidelines allows for the process where employees could have an FWA request conversation. Employers can continue their existing informal process,” pointed out SNEF’s Mr Ng during the dialogue. /TISG

Read also: Over 40% Singapore workers choose unemployment over jobs that didn’t allow work-from-home & flexible work hours arrangement