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New flexitime guideline in Singapore allows workers to ask for 4-day weeks, WFH setups

By AYIE LICSI Published Apr 16, 2024 8:51 pm

Employees in Singapore can soon ask for four-day work weeks and work-from-home setups.

This flexible work arrangement is part of the new guidelines announced by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) on April 16.

Under this, all employers in the country must have a system in place for workers to formally request for more flexible setups.

Firms are still allowed to reject employees' requests if the work setup is detrimental to productivity, according to the guidelines.

"Where reasonably practical, employers should explore ways to accommodate [flexible work arrangement (FWA)] requests," the TAFEP website read.

The agency also listed some unreasonable business grounds for rejecting FWA requests, such as:

  • Management does not believe in FWAs
  • Supervisor prefers to have direct sight of employee in office to see if they are working, despite employee's consistent satisfactory work performance
  • Organization's norm is to not offer FWAs

The flexible work guidelines will be implemented on December 1, 2024.

Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said that the guidelines were put in place to strengthen the country's workforce.

“I personally feel that it’s not a choice that we can make. If we want to have a strong labor force in Singapore, we want to be able to empower adults in Singapore who want to work to be able to work, flexible work arrangements have to be the way to go,” she said.

Other countries have embraced the four-day workweek, including Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Iceland, and Sweden. 

In 2022, the United Kingdom's trial for the shortened work week was deemed "extremely successful" by some companies that also said their productivity remained high.