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Voluntary Standard for Flexible Working Arrangements Launched

October 10, 2017

Under a new voluntary scheme launched on Friday (Oct 6) to encourage more flexi-work arrangements, Singaporean workers will have more options in getting their tasks done, such as choosing when to start and finish work.

Despite its voluntary nature, the initiative requires partner employers to make a public commitment and display good practices if they adopt the tripartite standards on the new scheme. Employers are also allowed to use “Tripartite Standards” logo in their job advertisements and marketing efforts, Straits Times reports.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said that in a time where workforce growth in Singapore is slowing, there needs to be efforts in creating a more family-friendly workplace. While the focus is to help working mothers, people with caregiving or important personal needs, such as taking ill parents for medical appointments or furthering their studies will need some flexibility in their work schedules.

However, Mrs Teo realised that some businesses might have their own rules and necessities, which is why the blanket rules on flexi-work might not work well for all organisations. Owing to that reason, the ministry needs to give each company freedom and flexibility in how they should design flexible work arrangements that suit their needs and meet their business operations.

See: A Third of Childcare Facilities in Singapore Located in Workplaces

So far, there have been more than 250 firms with total 210,000 workers implementing the tripartite standard. At least 50 of them belong to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The participants are listed on the official website of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep). Mrs Teo said the name list is a way to raise the profile of progressive employers, considering that not many companies with such arrangements are not known to the public.

The tripartite standard also requires the company to appoint a member of its senior management to champion flexi-work schedules, while ensuring good communication between employer and employees on the available options. The company also needs to socialise the procedure of how to apply for the scheme, while giving alternatives if the offerings are not suitable for the worker’s job scope.

Supervisors also need be trained to set work expectations and give fair review toward employees on such arrangements. Free workshops for them will be provided by Tafep. If the employees think the company does not show enough commitment to the standard, they can inform Tafep to give feedbacks for the company to improve.

The new tripartite standard is the second to be launched after scheme for better employment conditions for term-contract employees, with another three expected by year’s end. It came out in July and over 400 employers are already on board.

An example of recent implementation of tripartite standard is precision engineering company Feinmetall Singapore, which lets its staff start work between 7.30am and 10am. General manager Sam Chee Wah said the employees can also work remotely from home two days a month if their job scope allows it. Rolled out in early 2017, about half of its 60 staffs are on either of the schemes.

Read also: How to Manage Employee during Pregnancy and Maternity Leave?

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