More companies, workers benefiting from WorkPro initiative

January 5, 201510:20 am701 views
More companies, workers benefiting from WorkPro initiative
More companies, workers benefiting from WorkPro initiative

SINGAPORE: Over 1,400 companies have come onboard a scheme introduced in 2013 to help employers enhance their workplace practices. Called WorkPro, the initiative has in turn benefited over 18,400 mature workers and those who are returning to the workforce. One of those workers was Mrs Esther Lee.

When Mrs Lee was looking for a new job a year ago, she was quite clear that she wanted one which offers flexible work arrangements. With a three-year-old at home and another baby on the way, she said having it any other way would have been challenging.

She said: “In terms of arrangements like leave and when she’s sick and when the childcare centre is closed, then I pretty much have to work closely with my husband who is also working and he does not have such a flexible, work from home arrangement. I believe life will be slightly different, you have to rush out of the house and you just have to dump your work and go off and pick them up. It will definitely create more tension at home and tire myself out.”

At global travel management company BCD Travel, Esther is on a “virtual working arrangement”, where she works from home two to three times a week.

The company tapped WorkPro funding to buy the required hardware and software. Currently, more than half of its 85 employees in its regional office are on some form of flexi-work arrangement. The company said the scheme has lowered its attrition rate – from a high of about 20 per cent to an average of 12 per cent over the past two years or so.

Those Channel NewsAsia spoke with said that trust among employer and employee is a critical factor for such an arrangement to work.

Ms June Koh, director of HR and administration at BCD Travel, said: “Ultimately they are managed by their KPIs. We are talking about professionals – we don’t measure by the quantity but the quality of work. So performance-wise that is how they are measured… The managers and the employees are definitely engaged, so communication is important to determine the progress of your employee.”

VARIOUS SCHEMES UNDER WORKPRO

In 2013, all the various government schemes to improve workplaces were consolidated under WorkPro. Under it, companies can tap various grants – including the Age Management grant, to better manage mature workers; on-the-job training allowance to train those returning to the workforce; retention bonuses; as well as the Work-Life Grant, to help companies improve work-life harmony.

More than 200 companies have tapped the WorkPro WorkLife grant since October 2014, and most of them are small and medium enterprises. In response to feedback from employers, requirements under the grant were streamlined in July 2014 to make it easier for organisations to tap the grant.

BCD Travel said that they are planning to tap the scheme’s Age Management Grant this year to attract and train mature workers.

The Manpower Ministry also introduced a S$10,000 incentive for employers to pilot new Flexi-Work Arrangements (FWAs), and an additional S$10,000 to support them in implementing the FWAs company-wide.

A ministry spokesperson said: “Pilots are a good way for employers to try out new FWAs before implementing them on a larger scale. With this enhancement, employers can receive a total funding of S$40,000 for implementing FWAs, including the reimbursement of expenses incurred during the pilot and company-wide implementation. In addition to implementing new FWAs to help workers with their work-life needs, we also want to encourage employers to get more employees who require FWAs to use them.

“Previously, employers could receive up to S$40,000 a year only if they have 30 per cent of their workers using FWAs. Under the revised Work-Life Grant, there will also be a cash incentive of up to S$25,000 a year for employers who have 20 per cent of workers benefiting from FWAs. Employers who sustain or improve on the level of FWA utilisation can receive cash incentives for three years and potentially get up to S$120,000 in total. We will continue to monitor the take-up rate and encourage more employers to tap the scheme.”

 

 

news source & image credits: channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE: Over 1,400 companies have come onboard a scheme introduced in 2013 to help employers enhance their workplace practices. Called WorkPro, the initiative has in turn benefited over 18,400 mature workers and those who are returning to the workforce. One of those workers was Mrs Esther Lee.

When Mrs Lee was looking for a new job a year ago, she was quite clear that she wanted one which offers flexible work arrangements. With a three-year-old at home and another baby on the way, she said having it any other way would have been challenging.

She said: “In terms of arrangements like leave and when she’s sick and when the childcare centre is closed, then I pretty much have to work closely with my husband who is also working and he does not have such a flexible, work from home arrangement. I believe life will be slightly different, you have to rush out of the house and you just have to dump your work and go off and pick them up. It will definitely create more tension at home and tire myself out.”

At global travel management company BCD Travel, Esther is on a “virtual working arrangement”, where she works from home two to three times a week.

The company tapped WorkPro funding to buy the required hardware and software. Currently, more than half of its 85 employees in its regional office are on some form of flexi-work arrangement. The company said the scheme has lowered its attrition rate – from a high of about 20 per cent to an average of 12 per cent over the past two years or so.

Those Channel NewsAsia spoke with said that trust among employer and employee is a critical factor for such an arrangement to work.

Ms June Koh, director of HR and administration at BCD Travel, said: “Ultimately they are managed by their KPIs. We are talking about professionals – we don’t measure by the quantity but the quality of work. So performance-wise that is how they are measured… The managers and the employees are definitely engaged, so communication is important to determine the progress of your employee.”

VARIOUS SCHEMES UNDER WORKPRO

In 2013, all the various government schemes to improve workplaces were consolidated under WorkPro. Under it, companies can tap various grants – including the Age Management grant, to better manage mature workers; on-the-job training allowance to train those returning to the workforce; retention bonuses; as well as the Work-Life Grant, to help companies improve work-life harmony.

More than 200 companies have tapped the WorkPro WorkLife grant since October 2014, and most of them are small and medium enterprises. In response to feedback from employers, requirements under the grant were streamlined in July 2014 to make it easier for organisations to tap the grant.

BCD Travel said that they are planning to tap the scheme’s Age Management Grant this year to attract and train mature workers.

The Manpower Ministry also introduced a S$10,000 incentive for employers to pilot new Flexi-Work Arrangements (FWAs), and an additional S$10,000 to support them in implementing the FWAs company-wide.

A ministry spokesperson said: “Pilots are a good way for employers to try out new FWAs before implementing them on a larger scale. With this enhancement, employers can receive a total funding of S$40,000 for implementing FWAs, including the reimbursement of expenses incurred during the pilot and company-wide implementation. In addition to implementing new FWAs to help workers with their work-life needs, we also want to encourage employers to get more employees who require FWAs to use them.

“Previously, employers could receive up to S$40,000 a year only if they have 30 per cent of their workers using FWAs. Under the revised Work-Life Grant, there will also be a cash incentive of up to S$25,000 a year for employers who have 20 per cent of workers benefiting from FWAs. Employers who sustain or improve on the level of FWA utilisation can receive cash incentives for three years and potentially get up to S$120,000 in total. We will continue to monitor the take-up rate and encourage more employers to tap the scheme.”

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