Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Schemes to Promote Flexible Work Arrangements
Notice Paper No. 69 of 2015 Question No. 206 For Written Answer For Parliament Sitting On Or After 25 February 2015
MP: Mr Christopher de Souza
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry has any schemes or programmes in place that encourage employers to promote flexible work arrangements within the workplace; and (b) if so, whether it has plans to improve and enhance such schemes in the coming years.
- Flexible work arrangements (FWAs), such as telecommuting or flexible working hours, are important means for employees to find the right work-life fit that suit their work and personal needs. FWAs also enable employers to attract and retain employees, and keep them engaged at the workplace.
- To encourage more employers to offer FWAs, we have put in place a range of initiatives. Employers can receive up to $160,000 in funding support under the WorkPro Work-Life Grant, which was launched on 1 April 2013, to implement FWAs and sustain them over the longer term. As of December last year, there were 287 successful Work-Life Grant applications with $13.2 million in funding being committed. We recently streamlined grant requirements in July 2014 to make the grant more accessible to companies. We will continue to monitor the take-up rate for the grant and review the scheme where necessary.
- SPS Hawazi Daipi also chairs a national Tripartite Committee (TriCom) on Work-Life Strategy to oversee initiatives to help employers implement FWAs. The TriCom recently launch a Tripartite Advisory on FWAs in November last year to provide a step-by-step guide for employers, supervisors and employees on implementing, managing and using FWAs effectively at their workplaces. The TriCom also organised a week-long campaign to create greater awareness and build employers’ capabilities in implementing FWAs. This was held in conjunction with the biennial Work-Life Excellence Award that recognised organisations and individuals for their achievements in championing work-life harmony.
- The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) expanded its mandate last year to promote progressive employment practices, including FWAs. Since then, it has organised several training programmes on developing and implementing FWAs. For employers who require further assistance, TAFEP also engages work-life consultants to provide on-site consultation and advice.
- We are glad to note that through these efforts, the number of employers in Singapore that offered at least one form of FWA has increased from 38% in 2011 to 47% in 2014. We will continue to work closely with our tripartite partners and study international norms on how best to encourage more employers to offer FWAs at their workplaces.