S’pore Firms Encouraged To Adopt Flexi-Arrangements Like 4-Day Work Week When Suitable

Companies & Workers Encouraged To Keep Open Mind On Flexible Work Arrangements Like 4-Day Work Week

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, work-from-home (WFH) arrangements allowed employees to work safely and flexibly.

Though the threat of the pandemic has receded considerably, some of these practices may be here to stay.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (13 Sep), Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang urged companies and workers to adopt a “flexible mindset” regarding flexi-work arrangements such as four-day work weeks.

While companies and workers have unique needs, they’re encouraged to identify the arrangements that work best with their circumstances.

Here’s a summary of some of the points covered in Parliament earlier.

4-day work week suitable for certain companies & sectors, but not all

Responding to a question by Radin Mas SMC MP Melvin Yong, Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang urged companies and workers to adopt an open mindset when it comes to flexible work arrangements.

Mr Yong had filed a parliamentary question asking the manpower ministry if it was aware of any ongoing third-party studies examining the feasibility of a four-day work week arrangement in Singapore.

Answering Mr Yong’s query directly, Ms Gan said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is unaware of such studies.

However, she stated that results from other countries, which have implemented four-day work week arrangements, are “mixed”.

Key concerns that arise from the arrangement include:

  • Productivity
  • Business costs
  • Employee well-being

Regarding productivity levels, some improvements have reportedly been observed, though this is dependent on other factors such as sector and job type.

In some cases, companies found hiring more workers necessary to compensate for the shortened work hours.

On the other hand, some workers felt concerned that their salaries could be reduced, while others were more stressed when they had to work longer hours to finish their tasks.

While such studies appear inconclusive, Ms Gan said MOM and its tripartite partners strongly urge employers and workers to keep an open mind on all forms of flexible work arrangements and adopt those that best fit their needs.

Government to put together guidelines for flexi-work arrangements by 2024

On the policy front, Ms Gan shared that the Government is putting together a set of tripartite guidelines for flexible work arrangements by 2024, requiring employers to consider all requests fairly and adequately.

Besides offering greater flexibility to workers, this will also encourage workers to remain in the workforce while allowing them to fulfil their other needs, such as caregiving.

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Featured image adapted from Channel NewsAsia

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