Is Singapore ready for a 4-day workweek?

Employers and employees should adopt a "flexible mindset" on a four-day workweek, said Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State in the Manpower Ministry.
By: | September 15, 2022

A four-day work week may work well for some employers and employees but not others, she added.

“A four-day work week is one of many types of flexible work arrangements, and the ministry, together with our tripartite partners, strongly encourages employers and employees to be open to flexible work arrangements in all its various forms to identify and adopt those that best suit their unique business needs and their workers’ needs,” Gan said. 

She was responding to a question from MP Melvin Yong on whether studies were being conducted by third parties to examine the feasibility of a four-day work week in Singapore. 

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is not aware of any ongoing studies by third parties, said Gan, who added that reports of four-day work week pilots implemented in other countries appeared mixed.

These included pilot programmes in Ireland, Japan, and Spain. In Belgium, employees have the right to request a four-day work week, but with daily work hours extended so that the total number of hours worked in a week remains the same, she said. 

“So far, results appear to be mixed. Some of the key concerns that stakeholders have include the impact on productivity, business costs, and employee well-being,” said Gan.

READ: Four-day workweek reviewed in the UK

She added that while productivity improvements have been reported in some cases, this depends on the sector and job type. “In some instances, reduced work hours have had to be compensated by hiring more labour,” Gan said, CNA reported.