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Launch of Tripartite Advisory on Mental Well-being at Workplaces

1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) have jointly released the Tripartite Advisory on Mental Well-being at Workplaces. The Tripartite Advisory sets out practical guidance on measures that employers can adopt to support their employees’ mental well-being, and provides resources that employers, employees and self-employed persons can tap on.

Increasing Attention on Workers’ Mental Well-being

2. There has been increasing attention on workers’ mental well-being and growing recognition that a negative work environment can impact workers’ mental health. Conversely, workplaces that promote workers’ mental well-being are more likely to observe increased productivity and reduced absenteeism1.

3. At the same time, work environments and working conditions are rapidly changing as technology advances and businesses evolve. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has led many workplaces to adopt work-from-home arrangements as the norm. This has blurred the lines between work and home, leading to employees feeling more stressed and facing a higher risk of burnout.

4. The Tripartite Partners, in consultation with our HR practitioners and social agency partners2, have jointly developed this Tripartite Advisory to support employers in promoting their employees’ mental well-being.

Key Recommendations from the Tripartite Advisory

5. In order to support their employees’ mental well-being, employers are encouraged to adopt the following practices:

  • Appoint mental wellness champions to raise employees’ awareness on mental well-being and mental health conditions through talks and workshops;
  • Provide access to counselling services such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to allow employees to speak to a professional on their work and non-work related challenges (See Annex A);
  • Train managers to spot signs of mental distress, and on where they can refer employees to seek help from; and
  • Recognise the need for employees to have adequate rest outside work hours by establishing a work-life harmony policy to provide clarity on after-hours work communication.

6. On the part of employees and self-employed persons, they should look after their own mental well-being and reach out for help if they feel overwhelmed.

7. Annex A provides more details on service providers for EAP and mental health training that employers can consider, as well as resources and helplines that employees and self-employed persons can tap on. Employers and individuals can also find health tips on work-from-home arrangements in Annex B.

Towards Supportive and Healthy Workplaces

8. The Tripartite Advisory emphasizes the importance of supporting employees’ mental well-being at workplaces and the Tripartite Partners hope that it will kickstart more pervasive adoption of the recommended measures, especially with the disruptions brought about by COVID-19.

9. Mr Melvin Yong, Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC said, "In this prolonged period of telecommuting work arrangements, I understand that many workers are facing greater mental stress from juggling work and personal commitments while having to adapt to the COVID guidelines and restrictions. The Tripartite Advisory on Mental Well-being at Workplaces will help to reassure workers that safeguards are in place to support their mental well-being. The guidelines, particularly the part on establishing a work-life harmony policy for employees to rest and recharge after work, will benefit many workers especially those suffering and those who are at risk from workplace burnout. The Labour Movement is also committed to work with our unionised companies to adopt the recommendations and partner our employers and the Government to strengthen mental health-related support at the workplaces."

10. Mr John Ng, Vice President, SNEF, who is also the Chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health Council said, “The mental well-being of employees may affect their work, safety and health. The Tripartite Advisory will help employers to take proactive steps to take care of their employees’ mental well-being so that they are able to stay focused at work, work safely and stay healthy. In turn, employers will benefit from a healthy and productive workforce which can contribute to better business performance.”

11. Mr Gary Khoo, Director of Preventive Health Programmes, Health Promotion Board, said, “Mental well-being is important for a productive workforce and a healthy workplace, and we encourage employers to adopt the Health Promotion Board’s Workplace Outreach Wellness (WOW) Package. By implementing mental wellness programmes at workplaces, employees can be equipped with coping skills to manage challenges faced at work. Employers can also train leaders at the workplace to identify and support staff who may have mental health and well-being concerns. This will create a supportive workplace environment for better engagement of employees.”

FOOTNOTE

  1. World Health Organisation. 2019. Mental health in the workplace. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mental_health/in_the_workplace/en/
  2. Agency for Integrated Care, Health Promotion Board, HealthServe Ltd, Institute for Human Resource Professionals, Institute of Mental Health, Migrant Workers’ Centre, Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social and Family Development, National Council of Social Service, Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office, Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices and Workplace Safety and Health Council