Opening Remarks at Launch of the Job Sharing Implementation Guide
Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you Ernst & Young (EY) for hosting this company visit.
- I am very happy to be here with you. Today we will learn how EY has successfully implemented flexible work arrangements (FWAs), in particular, job-sharing, which benefit both employees and the company.
Importance of work-life
- With our tight labour market and ageing workforce, workplaces that are progressive and inclusive will have the competitive edge to recruit and retain a wider pool of talent.
- Companies that offer FWAs achieve a win-win outcome for themselves and their employees. Work flexibility is also increasingly used as a key talent attraction tool in today’s tight labour market. FWAs are attractive as they offer employees greater flexibility in managing their time to meet both work and personal responsibilities such as caregiving and skills-upgrading.
- I am heartened that FWAs have become more common in Singapore. Today, about 7 in 10 employees are in companies that provide at least one formal FWA, up from 6 in 10, five years ago. Formal FWAs commonly offered are part-time work, staggered hours, and formal tele-working. Though job-sharing is still nascent in Singapore with only 2% of companies offering it, it is becoming increasingly popular in countries such as the UK and Australia. We hear success stories of how job-sharers in these countries are able to enjoy both work-life balance and career progression at the same time.
- The Department for Transport in UK, for instance, appointed two female job-sharers to the position of Director General for the department’s Rail Group. Not only was it the first ever job share at such a senior position in the Civil Service, it was also hailed by their permanent secretary as a mark of progression in an overwhelmingly male industry.
- Here in Singapore, we are starting to see more opportunities for job-sharing taking place. At the MOM Committee of Supply Debate in March, I highlighted how our public service agencies are committed to meet the flexi-work needs of their employees. I also shared the story of Ms Lim Yu May and Ms Emily Kao who enjoyed a job-sharing arrangement at the Accountant-General’s Department in the Ministry of Finance. Yu May took the morning shift so she could be home for two primary school children. Emily, on the other hand, preferred to work in the afternoons while her toddler took his afternoon nap under her mother’s watchful eye. To ensure a smooth handover, Yu May and Emily would spend their overlapping hour at noon to exchange information and discuss what needed to be followed-up. They kept abreast of each other’s progress via an excel spreadsheet that was constantly updated. This arrangement worked well for the two mothers as they appreciated the newfound flexibility to look after their family needs. Their successful job-sharing arrangement lasted for about one and a half years (Dec 2013 to June 2015).
MOM-SNEF Job-Sharing Implementation Guide
- I also announced in March that MOM and SNEF were developing a job-sharing implementation guide for employers. The guide is now ready. It will not only help raise awareness about job-sharing, it will also educate employers on the nuts and bolts of implementing such an arrangement. Job-sharing will not only expand the range of FWAs options, it can also enhance trust, commitment and work satisfaction between employees and employers. The guide also features successful job-share experiences of both small and large companies, across different sectors – for example OSO Ristorante (Food & Beverage), Federal International (Hardware trading), and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Education). I urge employers to consider these successful experiences and join these far-sighted companies in offering job-share as a flexible work option. Employers can get a soft copy of this resource from the MOM and SNEF websites.
Ernst & Young – a workplace supportive of FWAs
- As one of the early movers in job-sharing, EY has shown its commitment and dedication to creating a family-friendly workplace for its workers.
- EY is also an early adopter of the Tripartite Standard on FWAs, and a recipient of the Work-Life Grant. Today, close to 4 in 5 employees at EY enjoy FWAs, with most benefiting from staggered work hours and telecommuting. This has helped the firm to retain good employees and keep its staff happy.
- I look forward to hearing more from EY later on how FWAs are encouraged and implemented, and how their staff, Ms Rashida and Ms Tanya have benefited from job-sharing.
- In conclusion, I urge all employers to consider FWAs and how it can serve the needs of your employees as well as benefit your company. With the help of technology such as Virtual Private Networks and teleconferencing capabilities, FWAs can be smoothly implemented. With greater flexibility and freedom to manage their time, employees’ productivity can improve and so can the rate of their retention. Most of all, employers that adopt FWAs have the full support of MOM and our tripartite partners. Besides the guide being launched today, you can tap on the enhanced Work-Life Grant which was recently increased to $100 million, to introduce FWAs in your organisation.
- Together, we can make all workplaces in Singapore great places to work in. Thank you.