In the past two decades, the Singapore Government has been progressively adopting and introducing policies that support and enable family-friendly practices that encourage better work-life harmony in the workplace and community.
The government’s policies primarily focus on two main areas: paid leave provisions and funding provisions. Funding provisions are in the form of grants supported via an infrastructure of various implementing agencies such as Workforce Singapore (WSG) and WorkPro Programme Partners. There are also some grants that are honed in on flexible work arrangements (FWAs), as financial commitment to FWAs has already been demonstrated by the government, and a large body of literature is present to support the positive impacts FWAs have on the work-life of employees. The Singapore government has also supported employers in providing FWAs through the WorkPro Work-Life Grant (WLG).
See also: Employment Generation Programme in India
Due to the increased take-up rate and the unexpected pandemic, the grants of WLG-FWA is available to companies seeking to put in place FWA measures that prevent further the spread of COVID-19. The amount received by the company is up to S$70,000 per company over two years with S$2,000 per local employee per year, who is a regular participant of FWAs.
The best use to make this grant valuable to both employers and employees is by splitting existing grants into easy-to-apply modular and bite-sized grants to subside and mandate the inclusion of flexible work arrangements in employment contracts. By doing so, the number of companies accessing and benefiting from it can be raised. This can be done by reducing the funding available for each small-to-medium-sized businesses and creating micro-grants which would further translate to a proportional reduction in complexity of the application process.
As of 6 p.m. (GMT +8), 18 August 2020, Singapore announced that they no longer accept applications for work-life grant due to the increased normalisation and the need to reduce the provision of FWAs. However, employers who require support to implement work-from-home arrangements might consider Enterprise Singapore’s Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) that is open for applications through business Grants Portal until 31 December 2020.
In addition, for companies that require support in their transformation journey or other business areas, the list available government assistance schemes can be found on the GoBusiness Gov Assist. If employers need help with identifying the most relevant government assistance for a company, they can make an appointment with business advisors at SME Centres or access e-Adviser.