Singapore Mandates Employers To Consider Flexi-Time Requests

Starting from December 1, workers in Singapore can legally request four-day work weeks, additional remote work days, and staggered working hours, highlighting a worldwide shift towards more relaxed office policies to attract and retain employees.

By the end of the year, employees will also have the right to request various other flexible working options, as stated on the Ministry of Manpower’s website.

Yeo Wan Ling, co-chair of the Tripartite Workgroup, noted that flexible work arrangements are a key factor for caregivers, female employees, and older workers when deciding whether to stay in or return to the job market.

Although these guidelines are not legally binding, they require every company in Singapore to establish a procedure for employees to formally request flexible working conditions.

Employers have the authority to deny these requests if they believe the changes would significantly reduce productivity, substantially increase costs, or are not practical due to the job’s nature.

However, companies are not permitted to dismiss requests solely because they conflict with the company’s traditional practices or because management is opposed to flexible working styles.

Singapore’s initiative aligns with actions in other countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom, where governments have made it mandatory for businesses to consider requests for flexible working arrangements.

While remote working became commonplace during the pandemic, it has been waning as the world recovers from Covid, and employers, concerned about underused costly real estate, are urging employees to return to office work.

Nevertheless, maintaining more adaptable work options could benefit companies, as providing employees the liberty to decide their working conditions has been shown to attract talent more quickly and increase revenue.