Singapore to roll out flexible work arrangement guidelines

Singapore flexible work guidelinesThe Singapore government has announced that it will roll out flexible work arrangement (FWA) guidelines for employees as of 1 December.

The mandatory guidelines, which were devised by the Tripartite Workgroup, will set out how employees should request for FWAs and use them, and how employers and supervisors should handle requests. The aim is to make it easier for employees to request FWAs, while acknowledging that employers continue to have the prerogative to decide on work arrangements.

The Tripartite Workgroup first convened in September 2023 to develop the guidelines and establish how formal FWA requests should be made, how employers should consider them, and the requirement to communicate decisions in a transparent and timely manner.

The group recommends enabling an educational approach in implementing the guidelines, which includes equipping employees and employers with the resources and skills to make and properly consider requests. Employees can speak to the Tripartite Alliance should employers not adhere to the guidelines.

Edwin Ng, co-chair of the Tripartite Workgroup, added: “While more employers have implemented FWAs, there may be specific needs of an individual employee which may not be covered by his or her employer’s FWA policy. As such, the guidelines will help employees to make requests for FWAs responsibly and help employers assess such requests properly. This would help to maintain harmonious employment relations as both employees and employers can discuss practical and sustainable work arrangements that can meet the needs of both parties.”

Yeo Wan Ling, co-chair of the Tripartite Workgroup, added: “Access to FWAs is often the main consideration for caregivers, women workers and senior workers when it comes to deciding to stay or return to the workforce. This is a milestone enhancement to the normalisation of FWAs in the workplace, as it puts into place formalised and clear processes for workers to request for flexible work arrangements. At the heart of successful FWA implementations is the building of a trust culture in the workplace. Our union leaders will continue working with our tripartite partners to bring win-win outcomes for our employers and workers.”