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Singapore Businesses – Are you ready for Flexible Work Arrangement? Here’s all you need to know about the Tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangement

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Singapore Businesses – Are you ready for Flexible Work Arrangement? Here’s all you need to know about the Tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangement

May 14, 2024

Singapore Businesses – Are you ready for Flexible Work Arrangement? Here’s all you need to know about the Tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangement.

In the wake of the pandemic, our work world has been turned upside down. The pandemic forced us to rethink the way we work. Gone are the days of strict nine-to-five office schedules. Singapore, known for its adaptability, is gearing up to embrace Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) like never before.

Enter FWAs, offering a range of options to suit different needs and circumstances. Whether it’s working from home, flexible working hours, or compressed workweeks, there’s something for everyone. But as we embrace these changes, it’s important to tackle the challenges head-on.

Building employers' capabilities in managing flexible work arrangements is essential for ensuring business continuity and retaining talent.

What Types of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) can one request?

FWAs come in various forms, each catering to different preferences and requirements. FWAs come in all shapes and sizes. Some common types include remote work, flexi working time, and flexibility in job load. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

  • Flexi-place: Employees can offer their contribution and effort from an out-of-office location, such as working from home and telecommuting.

  • Flexi-time: Employees can ask to work at different timings with no changes to total work hours and workload, such as flexible shifts, flexible hours, and compressed work schedules.

  • Flexi-load: Employees can request to work with different workloads and a reasonable pay associated with how much they are working, such as job sharing, part-time work, and freelancing. 

Formal Request: Discuss flexible work arrangements and make formal request.

Who Are Entitled for Flexible Work Arrangement Request?

All Singapore employees who have completed probation period are entitled to submit a formal FWA request to their employers under the Guidelines. However, Employers are free to consider FWA request from employees who are still serving their probation.

How to Request for Flexible Work Arrangement?

For an effective flexible work arrangements in an organization, employers need to establish a process for employees to formally request FWA. There should be a designated system or portal, or at least a hard copy paper form, for employees to submit their FWAs requests.

With that, employers should properly consider FWA request based on factors related to the employee’s job and how the requested FWA may affect the business or the employee’s performance of the job. Once request is received, employer should communicate the written decision made within 2 months. Employers may reject a FWA request – but this should be based on reasonable business grounds and not personal bias against FWAs. If request is rejected, employers are encouraged to engage employee on alternatives.

With these requirements set, every employer or business needs only to follow these Tripartite recommendations & guidelines laid out for the 1st December 2024.

Reasonable business grounds: Guidelines encourage employers to have consistent satisfactory work performance.

What are the 10 recommendations for the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests?

On 16 April 2024, Singapore’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) has announced and issued the new Tripartite Guidelines. With the support of TAFEP and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), these Guidelines will help to further progressive employment practices and create a more inclusive and productive workplaces in Singapore.

From 1 December 2024 these mandatory guidelines set out the minimum requirements that all Singapore employers are required to abide. Let’s explore what these Tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangements means for all of us – employers, employees, and most important HR professionals.

  • Recommendation 1: The TG-FWAR should establish a clear set of workplace norms around requesting FWAs and considering FWA requests. This will better manage employees’ and employers’ expectations on the process and their respective obligations. These guidelines set out the minimum requirements, and do not preclude employers from adopting more progressive practices.

    Recommendation 2: The TG-FWAR should guide the process of requesting and considering FWAs, and not the outcome of FWA requests.

    Recommendation 3: The TG-FWAR should require employers to properly consider FWA requests based on business grounds and not personal bias. Employees are also encouraged to request and use FWAs responsibly.

    Recommendation 4: The TG-FWAR should only apply to formal FWA requests. Formal requests may be defined as requests that are documented and that contain the information needed for the employer make an informed decision with the consideration of business outcomes.

    Recommendation 5: The TG-FWAR should cover all employees who have completed probation, the duration of which may be determined by employers.

    Recommendation 6: The TG-FWAR should not require employers to consider FWA requests from jobseekers. However, employers could still state their FWA approach or policy in job advertisements and interviews, to manage jobseekers’ expectations on the FWAs they can provide.

    Recommendation 7: The TG-FWAR should cover all employers, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Guides and templates should be provided to help all employers comply.

    Recommendation 8: Adopt an educational and enabling approach to implementing the TG-FWAR, with a focus on equipping employees and employers with the resources and skills to make and properly consider FWA requests respectively.

    Recommendation 9: Strengthen communications and engagement to help employers understand how FWAs can help their businesses and raise awareness of the types of 
    FWAs available. This builds on the progressive practices that were promoted under the Tripartite Advisory and Tripartite Standard on FWAs, which will be replaced by the TG-FWAR and its accompanying resource package.

    Recommendation 10: Provide greater support for employers to build and invest in critical FWA implementation capabilities. Resources and training to build capabilities on FWAs should be scaled up in partnership with key business and employee associations and unions. Resources should be customized to cater for different firm sizes, sectors, and nature of work.

The Ups and Downs of Flexible Work

When we talk about embracing flexible staff work arrangements, it’s like stepping into a world of possibilities – there are definitely some exciting perks, but also a few hurdles to overcome along the way. On the bright side, FWAs can be a game-changer for everyone involved. They have the power to lift spirits, boost productivity, and create a better balance between work and life.

Impacts on employers

Enhanced Employee Engagement: Imagine walking into a workplace where everyone is genuinely excited to be there. When employees have the flexibility to balance their work and personal lives, it’s like a breath of fresh air. They feel valued, trusted, and empowered, which naturally boosts their job satisfaction and engagement. And when your team is happy, they’re more likely to go the extra mile and give their best effort.

Reduced cost: FWAs can actually save companies a bundle. How? Well, when employees have the option to work remotely or on flexible schedules, it means fewer bodies in the office. And fewer bodies mean lower expenses – think office space, utilities, and equipment. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Access to wider talent pools: In today’s world, talent knows no bounds. With FWAs becoming increasingly popular, offering them can give you a competitive edge in attracting top talent. Picture this – by embracing FWAs, you’re opening up your doors to a diverse pool of candidates who might not otherwise consider your organization. It’s all about casting a wider net and reeling in the best and brightest.

Work life balance: Employers should review their work processes and consider introducing mandatory guidelines to facilitate flexible work arrangements.

Increased Management Complexity: Sure, FWAs can make employees happier, but managing a team with different schedules and remote work setups can be like juggling too many balls at once. It takes a lot of effort and resources to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that things run smoothly.

Potential Loss of Control: With FWAs, there’s a worry that employers might lose some control over employees work arrangements. It’s hard to keep tabs on productivity and performance when everyone’s working from different places and at different times.

Communication Barriers: When you’re not all in the same office, a clear communication often becomes even more critical – and even trickier. Misunderstandings can easily happen, and important messages might get lost in translation. It’s like trying to play a game of telephone with bad reception.

Compressed work schedule: Employers should ensure that employees' caregiving responsibilities are taken into account when reviewing FWA requests.

Impacts on employees

Better work life balance: It’s like the holy grail of modern-day living. But with FWAs, it’s not just a dream – it’s a reality. When employees have the flexibility to choose when and where they work, they can finally achieve that delicate balance between their professional and personal lives. It’s all about autonomy and control – not personal bias, and that’s a game-changer.

Improved productivity: Happy employees are productive employees. When you give people the freedom to work in a way that suits them best, they’re more motivated, focused, and efficient. And that translates into better performance for the company as a whole. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Greater talent attraction and employee retention: In today’s job market, flexibility is king. Employees want it, and they’re willing to jump ship if they don’t get it. By offering FWAs, you’re not just attracting top talent – you’re also keeping them happy and loyal. And that’s priceless. After all, a satisfied employee is a loyal employee.

Progressive employment practices. Building employers' capabilities in managing flexible work arrangements is essential for ensuring business continuity and retaining talent.

Blurred Boundaries: One of the downsides of FWAs is that it can blur the lines between work and personal life. When your office is your living room, it’s tough to switch off and relax after hours. It’s like your work is always lurking in the background, waiting to creep back in.

Feelings of Isolation: Working remotely or on flexible schedules can sometimes feel lonely. Without the buzz of the office and the chance to chat with colleagues over coffee, it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own little island.

Career Advancement Concerns: When you’re not in the office every day, there’s a worry that you might miss out on opportunities for career growth. It’s like being invisible to your boss – out of sight, out of mind. And that can make it tough to climb the career ladder.

So, while FWAs definitely have their perks, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges they bring too. By recognizing these issues and finding ways to address them, by recognizing these issues and finding ways to address them, both employers and employees can make the most of flexible work schedules.

Explore alternative solutions: By following the guidelines and discussing FWA requests with employees, employers can create a workplace that meets the needs of both the business and its employees.

Making Flexible Work Arrangement Easier with JustLogin HRMS

As Singapore moves towards a more flexible way of working, both employers and employees need to roll with the changes and find new ways to thrive. JustLogin is here to help your business adapt seamlessly. Our suite of tools is designed to make managing a remote workforce a breeze, ensuring that you can maintain productivity and employee satisfaction no matter where your team is working from.

Attendance Management Software: Geotagging and Geofencing

JustLogin’s attendance system automatically tags and records employees’ GPS locations when they clock in or out. With a built-in geofencing feature, you can limit your employees’ work locations so they can only clock in or out at designated workplaces. This provides visibility and helps prevent abuse, ensuring that employees clock-in or out only at the right places. These features are particularly useful for businesses with multiple locations or mobile workforces, enhancing transparency and accountability.

Efficient Rostering and Timesheet Management

JustLogin’s Attendance and Leave features are designed to streamline the process of managing rosters and timesheets. With these tools, you can easily schedule shifts, track hours worked, and ensure compliance with labor laws. The modules provide a centralized platform for all attendance records, making it simple to review and approve timesheets. Automated alerts and notifications keep both managers and employees informed about shift changes and leave requests, ensuring smooth operations and better workforce planning.

Custom Forms for Flexible Work Arrangements

Creating and managing flexible work arrangement (FWA) requests is effortless with our Custom Form feature. This AI-powered feature allows you to quickly generate tailored forms for FWA requests, making it easy for employees to submit their preferences. All submitted forms are stored securely in the system, enabling you to keep track of these important documents and ensure that all requests are handled promptly and efficiently.

Employers are encouraged to accommodate FWA requests and use funding support, such as the Productivity Solutions Grant, to implement flexible work solutions.

Boosting Employee Satisfaction with Xoxoday Empuls and Microsoft Teams

Employee satisfaction is crucial for maintaining a motivated and productive workforce. JustLogin integrates with Xoxoday Empuls, a powerful tool for recognizing and rewarding employees. With Xoxoday, you can celebrate achievements, milestones, and everyday contributions, fostering a culture of appreciation and boosting morale. This sense of recognition and belonging helps to enhance overall employee satisfaction.

In addition, effective communication is essential for remote teams, and Microsoft Teams plays a vital role in keeping everyone connected. Through Teams, employees can collaborate seamlessly, share updates, and stay engaged, regardless of their physical location. Combining the communication capabilities of Teams with the engagement features of Xoxoday ensures that your employees feel valued and connected, even when working remotely.

By incorporating JustLogin Attendance, leave features, Custom Forms, and integrated partners such as Xoxoday, and Microsoft Teams into your HR strategy, you can create a flexible and supportive work environment that meets the needs of your remote workforce. These tools not only simplify administrative tasks but also enhance employee satisfaction and productivity.

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