Skip to main content

Written Answer to PQ on Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements for frontline and blue-collar workers


MP: Mr Yip Hon Weng

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Tripartite Workgroup formed to develop the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) will introduce FWAs tailored to lower-wage frontline and blue-collar workers to allow time-off for caregiving and upskilling; (b) what measures are in place to ensure that employers support FWAs without hindering the job security or career progression of such workers; and (c) whether there is a framework in development to recognise and reward employers who embrace and implement FWAs for their blue-collar workforce.


The Tripartite Workgroup for the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests (TG-FWAR) is currently discussing what the scope of the Guidelines should be.

2 We recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to FWAs. The size of a firm, the nature of its business and jobs, and the needs of different workers can vary widely. There is also a variety of FWAs that could be implemented, depending on the needs of businesses and the workers. For example, while telecommuting may not be suitable for front-line workers, other arrangements such as flexible shift scheduling and staggered hours may be implemented.

3 Hence, providing FWAs should not be overly prescriptive for employers as they would know how to optimally balance the needs of their business with those of their employees, whether it is to support caregiving or upskilling. We are mindful to not take a rigid approach which may affect workers’ employability and firms’ productivity. Instead, we want to build up a norm where employers and employees can discuss constructively what kinds of FWAs work best for them. The Tripartite Guidelines will lay out how employers can assess FWA requests fairly and require them to do so. At the same time, it will also lay out how FWAs should be used responsibly by employees. Employers should also manage and appraise employees on FWAs fairly, in line with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.

4 With a tight labour market, it is in employers’ best interests to offer the right FWAs that allow them to maintain productivity while attracting and retaining talent. We also recognise employers that adopt FWAs through the Tripartite Standard on FWAs and the Tripartite Alliance Awards. For example, 12 firms were recognised just last week in this year’s Tripartite Alliance Awards for their efforts to support work-life harmony, including through implementing FWAs. The Workgroup will discuss how to further profile progressive employers with FWAs and promulgate their best practices.