Singapore markets open in 6 hours 18 minutes
  • Straits Times Index

    +8.49 (+0.26%)
  • S&P 500

    +6.17 (+0.12%)
  • Dow

    +134.19 (+0.34%)
  • Nasdaq

    -12.33 (-0.07%)
  • Bitcoin USD

    -224.70 (-0.34%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    -13.66 (-0.99%)
  • FTSE 100

    -18.39 (-0.22%)
  • Gold

    +34.30 (+1.44%)
  • Crude Oil

    +0.77 (+0.97%)
  • 10-Yr Bond

    +0.0430 (+0.98%)
  • Nikkei

    -132.92 (-0.34%)
  • Hang Seng

    +177.11 (+0.91%)
  • FTSE Bursa Malaysia

    +5.51 (+0.34%)
  • Jakarta Composite Index

    +70.54 (+0.97%)
  • PSE Index

    -9.51 (-0.14%)

Want to work from home (WFH)? Singapore employers must consider formal flexible work arrangement requests from 1 Dec

In the latest Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests, companies should set up processes for employees to submit formal FWA requests.

Office workers walk out during their lunch break at Raffles Place in Singapore, illustrating a story on flexi-work arrangements such as WFH.
Want to work from home (WFH)? Have a 4-day work week? Singapore employers must consider formal requests from 1 Dec. (PHOTO: Getty) (ROSLAN RAHMAN via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Employers in Singapore will have to consider flexible work arrangements (FWA) such as work-from-home (WFH) days, where formally requested by employees when a new set of guidelines kick on 1 December 2024.

Announced by the Tripartite Workgroup on Flexible Work Arrangements – comprising representatives from government, unions, employer and human resources groups – on Tuesday (16 April), the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests covers FWAs such as four-day work weeks, working from home and staggered work timings.

What are the different types of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)?

FWAs include:

  • Flexi-place, where employees work flexibly from different locations aside from their usual office location (e.g. telecommuting, work from home).

  • Flexi-time, where employees work flexibly at different timings with no changes to total work hours and workload (e.g. flexi-hours, staggered hours, flexi-shift, compressed work schedule).

  • Flexi-load, where employees work flexibly with different workloads and with commensurate remuneration (e.g. job sharing, part-time work).

While not enforceable by law, the guidelines say that companies should set up processes for employees – who have completed their probation – to submit formal FWA requests, and make share how these request will be handled.

The guidelines stipulate that "employers should consider employees' FWA requests properly". "When assessing an employee's FWA request, employers should focus on factors related to the employee's job, as well as how the requested FWA may affect the business or the employee's performance of the job."

Rejection of FWA requests should be made on reasonable business grounds, which include:

  • Cost: if the TWA leads to significant increase in cost burden to the employer.

  • Detrimental to productivity or output: if the TWA leads to a significant decrease in the quantity or quality of the individual's, team's or organisation's productivity or output, or negatively impacts the organisation's ability to meet customer needs.

  • Feasibility or practicality: if it is not feasible or impractical due to nature of job role, or there is no capacity to change other employees' work arrangements, or requires the need to hire new employees, to accommodate the FWA request.

Reasons that are not acceptable for employers to reject FWA requests are those not directly linked to business outcomes, such as "management does not believe in FWAs" or the "supervisor prefers to have direct sight of employee in office", the guidelines stated.

Manpower Ministry accepts FWA guidelines

The MOM in a statement on Tuesday said that "the government has accepted all 10 recommendations by the Tripartite Workgroup on the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) Requests".

"The Guidelines are aimed at making it easier for employees to request for FWAs, while acknowledging that employers continue to have the prerogative to decide on work arrangements. The Public Service will continue to champion FWAs and adopt the principles outlined in the Guidelines," MOM added.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Yahoo Singapore Telegram
Yahoo Singapore Telegram