Singapore introduces flexible work options from December 1

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Singapore employees are set to enjoy a new level of workplace flexibility starting from December 1, with the ability to request four-day work weeks, increased remote working days, and varied work timings. This move is part of a broader global shift as governments and companies loosen traditional office structures to retain skilled staff.

The Ministry of Manpower has revealed that by the end of the year, employees will also have the right to request more adaptable work locations.

Such flexible work arrangements have become a pivotal factor for caregivers, women employees, and senior workers in making decisions about remaining in or returning to the workforce, as noted by the co-chair of the Tripartite Workgroup, Yeo Wan Ling.

Although this guideline is not legally binding, it does necessitate all Singaporean firms to establish a process for workers to formally apply for flexible work arrangements. Employers have the right to refuse these requests if they foresee a significant decrease in productivity, a substantial increase in cost, or if the work’s nature makes it unviable.

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However, businesses cannot deny a request purely because it contradicts the company’s traditions or because the management does not believe in flexible work styles.

This initiative from Singapore aligns with similar moves in other nations, such as Ireland and the United Kingdom. These governments also require businesses to consider flexible work requests.

While remote working emerged as a necessity during the pandemic, the trend has been waning as the world begins to recover from Covid-19. Employers of the costly vacant office spaces are encouraging staff to return to the office. However, maintaining a degree of flexibility may be beneficial for companies. Evidence shows that businesses offering employees the freedom to dictate how and where they work tend to attract talent more rapidly and generate increased revenue, reported Bangkok Post.

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