MOM To Implement Guidelines For Flex Work Requests In 2024
SINGAPORE – Minister Siow Huang announced that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) plans to introduce tripartite guidelines next year regarding employee requests for flexible work arrangements, reported ChannelNewsAsia on Wednesday evening (4 October, SGT).
The Minister of State for the Ministry of Manpower revealed that a workgroup will research international practices and consult employers, human resources (HR) professionals, and workers for the crafting of the guidelines, which will set the norms and expectations for both employers and employees.
She said countries such as New Zealand and the UK have already passed legislation on the right to flexible work arrangements. While their laws don’t guarantee such arrangements for all staff, their rules establish a process for attaining a right balance of workplace flexibility.
“It is not yet clear to us that this is the best approach to take,” noted Gan. “We have to be mindful of the risk of creating a more acrimonious workplace culture if both parties can easily take their flexible work arrangement disputes to court or tribunal, instead of working out mutually suitable arrangements amicably,” she said, citing an opinion piece penned by council members of the Singapore National Employers Federation.
Meanwhile, the Minister explained that while flexible work arrangements can help attract and retain talent, it’s not advisable to legislate a law that mandates employers to acquiesce to such arrangement.
“Turning flexible work arrangements into [a law] could be detrimental to businesses, and even to workers themselves,” as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, Gan elucidated.
She was responding to Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Chua who had repeated his call for legislators to pass laws that give employees the right to flexible work arrangements, instead of issuing advisories which are not legally binding.