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Tripartite Workgroup Convenes First Meeting to Develop Guidelines on FWAs


            A new Tripartite Workgroup (TWG) has been formed to develop the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs), which will be launched in 2024. The TWG comprises representatives from the Government, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), Institute for HR Professionals (IHRP), and the Public Service Division (PSD). The TWG convened its first meeting today, and its full composition is in the Annex.

2        Currently, employers can voluntarily adopt the Tripartite Standard on FWAs (TS-FWA), which sets out best practices in offering FWAs, and handling FWA requests. FWAs help employees achieve better work-life harmony and promote a more engaged and productive workforce, which in turn benefits employers. Employers who offer FWAs also benefit from better talent attraction and retention. As Singapore is fast becoming a “super-aged” society with growing caregiver needs and tight labour supply, FWAs have also become increasingly important to enable more employees to continue working or re-enter the workforce while managing their caregiving commitments. 

3          In consultation with employers, HR practitioners and employees, tripartite partners will introduce a new set of Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs. The Guidelines will build on the best practices set out under TS-FWA for employers to fairly consider and respond to FWA requests by their employees. The Guidelines seek to build mutual understanding and trust between employers and employees as they discuss suitable FWA(s) that support both business and employees’ needs. The tripartite partners also recognise that it is important to take a calibrated and enabling approach so that FWAs are implemented effectively and used responsibly. 

4        Ms Yeo Wan Ling, Co-Chair of the TWG said, “NTUC has gathered strong feedback from the ground and through our year-long #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations, about the increasing load and anxieties that workers are facing around balancing caregiving responsibilities and work aspirations. Having progressed from a Tripartite Advisory for FWAs in 2014 to Tripartite Standards for FWAs in 2017, NTUC is glad that the tripartite partners are now moving to introduce Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs that will make it acceptable and easier for workers to request FWAs, to balance their caregiving and work commitments. Such progress highlights the important role employers play in helping employees thrive in the workplace and at home. We have also invited union leaders to join the workgroup to ensure our working people’s concerns are adequately represented.”

5        Mr Edwin Ng, Co-Chair of the TWG said, "More employers have implemented FWAs to meet the work-life needs of their employees to better attract and retain them. However, employees need to appreciate that their employers have to ensure that business needs are met so that the business will continue to do well. The provision of FWAs will thus need to take into account the specific circumstances of each business. SNEF looks forward to working with our tripartite partners to develop the Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs, which will guide employees in making requests for FWAs responsibly and help employers in managing requests for FWA properly and fairly. This would make our workplaces more flexible, inclusive and harmonious.”

6        At the TWG’s first meeting on 7 September 2023, the members agreed on the scope and focus areas of the TWG’s work. The key deliverables are:
a. Develop guidelines to ensure that FWA requests are fairly and properly considered in a practical manner, taking into account both workers’ and business needs
b. Develop a strategy to support employers and employees follow the guidelines 
c. Develop recommendations to promote effective and sustainable provision and utilisation of FWAs 

7          Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Manpower, and Co-Chair of the TWG, said, “Since the pandemic, both businesses and employees have seen the feasibility and value of different types of FWAs. I am glad to see that post-pandemic, many companies have continued to offer FWAs, and this has helped them boost employee morale and engagement, and better attract and retain talent. The tripartite workgroup will look to develop recommendations to better shape norms around FWAs, and enable FWAs to be assessed fairly, while also taking into consideration the business needs of employers. FWAs are effective and sustainable only if there is mutual trust and understanding between both employers and employees. Let us work together to foster a culture of trust and responsibility, so that FWAs can be a win-win for all.”

8        The TWG expects to submit its recommendations to the Government, and launch the Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs in 2024. 

ANNEX - Composition of Tripartite Workgroup on Flexible Work Arrangements (as of 7 September 2023)







Ms Gan Siow Huang

Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower



Ms Yeo Wan Ling

Director, Women and Family (WAF) / U SME



Mr Edwin Ng

SNEF Honorary Secretary


Sub-Group Chairpersons



[TWG Sub-group Co-Chair] Ms Faith Li

TAFEP General Manager



[TWG Sub-group Co-Chair] Mr Aslam Sardar

IHRP Chief Executive Officer









Mr Ng Chee Khern

Permanent Secretary



Ms Jessie Chiu

Union Leader, Singapore Union of Broadcasting Employees (SUBE)


Ms Pravita D/O Nithiah Nandan

Union Leader, National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU)



Mr Ang Yuit

ASME Deputy President



Mr Thian Tai Chew

Executive Director of Jobs & Skills Division



Mr Ye Yongfeng

Director, Public Sector Transformation