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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Flexible Work Arrangements

Notice Paper No. 3 Of 2016 For The Sitting On 28 January 2016 Question No. 5 For Written Answer

MP: Mr Christopher de Souza

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether there has been any industry feedback about the effectiveness of existing flexible work arrangements for mothers returning to the workplace; and (b) whether such arrangements are effective in reducing time spent at work, rather than just a reduction of workload.


  1. The Government works closely with the tripartite partners through the Tripartite Committee (TriCom) on Work-Life Strategy to obtain feedback and promote the adoption of flexible work arrangements (FWAs). The TriCom is supported by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) which promotes FWAs and helps employers implement FWAs. 
  2. The proportion of employers providing at least one form of FWA has steadily increased from 28% in 2008 to 47% in 20141. Based on the findings of a Work-Life Integration Survey2 released in 2014, 65% of working mothers with young children agreed that they had the flexibility to integrate the needs of their work with their personal and family life. With the greater availability of FWAs, the resident labour force participation rate for women increased from 54.3% in 2006 to 60.4% in 2015. 
  3. The Tripartite Advisory on Flexible Work Arrangements, which was launched in Nov 2014 by the TriCom, encourages various FWAs to be considered to meet the needs of both the employers and the employees. Besides reducing time spent at work and workload, other flexibilities in work arrangements can be applied to work timing (for example, staggered hours and compressed work week) and work location (for example, tele-commuting). The varying needs of both employers and employees should be considered in order to implement FWAs sustainably. 

1 Source: MOM’s Conditions of Employment 2014. Data covered establishments in the private sector with at least 25 employees and the public sector comprising government ministries, organs of state and statutory boards.

Survey conducted by The Straits Times and the Employer Alliance. The Employer Alliance is a network of corporations committed to enhancing work-life integration and is part of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices.