Singapore to set up guidelines for flexible work arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are the way forward, especially as they help more women and mature workers participate in the labour force.
By: | May 10, 2022

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said this at a panel discussion held in conjunction with the launch of the Tripartite Collective recently.

The collective facilitates the exchange of ideas on issues faced by employers and employees. One of its aims is also to foster the spirit of tripartism in Singapore – that is, collaboration among the government, employers and the labour representatives.

Regarding the future of work, Dr Tan said: “I think the next key disruption is going to be flexible work arrangements. The Manpower Ministry, together with the tripartite partners, has developed these standards. We hope that everyone will support this and eventually, in about a year from now, we… will be able to come up with some guidelines.”

He added that flexible arrangements are also a good way to bring more people into the workforce, such as women with caregiving responsibilities and mature workers. He noted that there are about 260,000 women aged 25 to 64 and 120,000 residents aged 65 to 69 who are outside the labour force.

“So, if you add the two groups together with an emboldened, enlightened and optimised flexible work arrangement, we have potentially close to 400,000 people coming back to the workforce. Think about how that will power our economy and our industries,” he said.

READ: Singaporeans view work-life balance as more important than salary

At the panel discussion, Dr Tan also spoke about the future of the gig economy and how it can include more diverse jobs. He said the issue of gig workers provides an opportunity for tripartism and that the tripartite members have come together to study the challenges of self-employed platform workers and see how to improve their rights.