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New Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony to Boost Workplace Morale and Performance

         Minister of State for Manpower Ms Gan Siow Huang launched the Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony (WLH)1 today, at the 2nd Alliance for Action on WLH general Communities of Practice session.

2     The Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress, and Singapore National Employers Federation jointly developed this Tripartite Standard to entrench and enhance good work-life harmony practices in the new normal and beyond. The Tripartite Standard on WLH is a set of recommended employment practices that recognises the varying priorities of employees at different stages of their lives, and supports them in effectively managing both work responsibilities and personal aspirations, thereby achieving WLH.

3     The new Tripartite Standard on WLH was one of the recommendations from the Citizens’ Panel on Work-Life Harmony2. To realise this, the tripartite partners worked closely with each other and took onboard input from community partners, including members from the Citizens’ Panel, the Alliance for Action on WLH, and human resource professionals, to establish a set of recommended practices for employers to adopt and strengthen WLH.

4     Minister of State for Manpower Ms Gan Siow Huang said, "In this new normal, Singaporeans are becoming more used to hybrid work, but are also increasingly concerned about the blurring of work-life boundaries, and hope to be able to juggle work and personal commitments better. This has given us the impetus to look at how we can better support employers and employees in achieving work-life harmony. Adopting the new Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony will be a step in the right direction. In doing so, we recognise that the needs of employees and employers vary across job roles and life stages. Let us work on entrenching best work-life practices to boost employee morale and performance."

5     Ms Yeo Wan Ling, NTUC Director for Women and Family Unit as well as U SME, who also co-leads the AfA on Work-Life Harmony, said, "NTUC has been engaged in robust discussions with SNEF and MOM in the development of these Tripartite Standard’s seven practices, taking into account the inputs from over 125 Work-Life Ambassadors from the NTUC Women’s Committee. With an ecosystem of support and services from the NTUC’s group of social enterprises, along with support from our various unions, we will continue to journey with Singaporeans to entrench good work-life harmony and practices. We also encourage employers to consider how the concept of work-life harmony applies to men. It is crucial that men contribute to caregiving needs in the family so that at the end of the day, both women and men alike experience work-life harmony."

6     Dr Bicky Bhangu, who also co-leads the AfA on Work-Life Harmony with Ms Yeo and MOS Gan said, "Close to four in five employers (78%) had implemented at least one formal type of flexible work arrangement (FWA) in 2020, up from about half (53%) in 2019, in part due to the need to maintain safe operations during COVID-19. Whilst this is good progress, we understand that work-life harmony goes beyond just FWAs, and there are opportunities for employers to further enhance work-life harmony practices at workplaces. The launch of the Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony is timely to help employers do so. The key is for the standards to be flexible enough for employers to implement work-life practices that take care of the varying needs and well-being of employees. Getting this right can help to improve employee engagement and productivity. Such win-win outcome will enable employers to sustain work-life harmony practices and make them more widely accepted among businesses."

7      The new Tripartite Standard builds upon the 2017 Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)3, in recognition that FWAs is a necessary building block towards achieving WLH. Adopters of the Tripartite Standard on WLH will need to adopt the Tripartite Standard on FWA as part of the requirements.

8      Other recommended practices include providing employees with enhanced leave benefits, other employee support schemes, appointing a WLH champion from the senior management, and regularly reviewing the effectiveness of work-life programmes to ensure it meets the employees’ needs.

9      The Public Service Division welcomes the Tripartite Standard on WLH and will study it with a view towards adoption by public sector agencies.

10      To help companies take the first step in adopting the TS-WLH, the Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices will be conducting clinics and workshops. Interested employers can also visit www.tafep.sg to adopt the Tripartite Standard(s) or contact TAFEP at ts@tafep.sg for more information.