Tripartite Statement on Flexible Work Arrangements
COMPANIES ENCOURAGED TO SUSTAIN AND PROMOTE FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS AS PERMANENT FEATURE OF THE WORKPLACE
Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) have strengthened the resilience of workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. Practices such as telecommuting and staggered work hours have become more prevalent, as more employers and employees recognise the benefits of FWAs. Globally, employers increasingly embrace FWAs as part of the future of work.
Flexible Work Arrangements as Permanent Feature of the Workplace
2. Employers are strongly encouraged to continue offering FWAs to employees, and to promote FWAs as a permanent feature of the workplace. FWAs help employees achieve better work-life harmony and promote a more engaged and productive workforce. This in turn benefits employers. Employers who offer FWAs will also benefit from talent attraction and retention. In addition, these employers will be able to tap on a larger pool of manpower, such as caregivers and seniors, who might otherwise not be able to remain in or join the workforce.
3. To ensure operational effectiveness and sustainability in the long-run, employers should regularly engage with their employees in deciding on the FWAs that best suit business needs and work-life needs.
4. We encourage employers and employees to adopt sustainable FWAs as a key permanent feature of the workplace, specifically:
- Employers should continue to make efforts to provide flexibility for employees, including redesigning jobs where needed, while taking into consideration business needs.
- Employers should continue to manage, assess, appraise and remunerate employees who use FWAs fairly and objectively, in line with the principles in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
- Employees should use FWAs responsibly and ensure continued work productivity. FWAs are not an entitlement and the requirements of the job take precedence.
- Trust should also be maintained between employers and employees, through regular and open communication to discuss on what FWAs are practical and sustainable, and the organisational outcomes and deliverables that need to be met.
Putting in Place Telecommuting Practices
5. We encourage employers to allow their employees to telecommute as part of the permanent FWAs, even as more employees who can work from home may now return to the workplace. The following could be considered:
- Employers may require employees to report to the office for meetings and to foster team collaboration, while permitting telecommuting for tasks that do not need to be done onsite. There is a range of telecommuting arrangements that can be considered, ranging from regular frequency to ad-hoc, and from full-day to part-day telecommuting.
- Employers may consider redesigning suitable jobs to increase the possibility of telecommuting. Employers may also adopt technology to transform jobs, allowing work that is traditionally performed onsite to be done offsite.
- Employers may consider redesigning workspaces to leverage more satellite offices or co-working spaces, to enable employees to work closer to home.
- In developing their telecommuting policy for employees whose roles allow them to do so, employers may consider the need for culture and team building, as well as maintaining team cohesion.
6. Besides telecommuting, other forms of FWAs (e.g. flexi-time and flexi-load) continue to be important, as not all employees can telecommute. For example, frontline employees who are not able to telecommute may benefit from other FWAs such as part-time work and ad-hoc time-off from work, to better manage personal or family responsibilities while still contributing effectively at work.
7. The public service will take the lead. All public agencies have adopted the Tripartite Standard on FWAs. Eligible public officers in job roles which are conducive to hybrid work will be allowed to telecommute for an average of two days a week. The Public Service will also seek to develop new supervisory skills in terms of managing teams effectively in a hybrid work environment.
Support in implementing FWAs
8. The tripartite partners, comprising the Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), recognise that not all companies are ready to implement FWAs to the same extent. We will work together to support employers and employees on this journey.
9. Employers may also consider the following resources:
- Playbook on Hybrid Workplaces by the Institute of Human Resource Practitioners.
The playbook provides guidance, case studies and resources on how to implement suitable practices, such as fair and effective management, assessment and appraisal of employees regardless of working arrangements.
- The Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements (TS-FWA) provides best practices for employers and recognises progressive employers that implement them. Tripartite partners aim to increase adoption of the TS-FWA by employers to cover 4 in 10 employees by the end of 2022.
- Grant support for pre-approved digital solutions (e.g. under Productivity Solutions Grant, SMEs Go Digital) which can reduce the need for on-site presence and facilitate remote working.
- Work-Life Harmony Diagnostic Tools for Employers by NTUC helps employers to perform self-assessment of the work-life support and the level of employee’s work-life harmony including Flexible Work Arrangements.
- SNEF conducts regular workshops to equip HR Practitioners with practical knowledge to implement FWAs effectively and sustainably. The workshop discusses the potential risks, employers’ legal obligations and implementation of after-hours work communication policy to balance both business needs and employees’ wellbeing. For more information, please visit: www.snef.org.sg or email to email@example.com.
10. To further encourage the provision of FWAs, the tripartite partners will also consult widely to develop a set of Tripartite Guidelines by 2024. The Guidelines will set out practices that employers should adopt to assess and communicate decisions on FWA requests.
11. The tripartite partners will also continue to grow the community of Work-Life Ambassadors to champion work-life practices at their workplaces. These are employers, union leaders, HR professionals or employees who are willing to do their part in raising awareness and promoting such practices to the workplaces.
 FWAs can take the form of flexi-time, flexi-place or flexi-load.
 This includes digital solutions for accounting and sales management, HR services, and inventory management.