In late 2017, the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) was launched by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower.  FWA refer to work arrangements where employers and employees agree to a variation from the usual work arrangement.  Flexibility can be applied to different aspects of work, such as timing/duration, location and scope.

The types of FWAs can be broadly classified under:

FLEXI-TIME (e.g. staggered hours and compressed work week)
Staggered Hours - An arrangement where employees can vary their daily start and end times to suit their work and personal commitments.
Compressed Work Week - An arrangement in which an employee works full-time hours, e.g. 40 hours in a week, in fewer than the normal number of days per time period.

FLEXI-PLACE (e.g. telecommuting)
This includes telecommuting, working from home and working from smart work centres or satellite offices.

FLEXI-LOAD (e.g. part-time or job-sharing)
This refers to varying duties or workload. An example is part-time work.

As of March 2018, 330 employers had bought into the initiative with the majority made up of larger companies and a few SMEs.

The objective of having FWAs is to create a supportive and conducive work environment where employers can better attract and retain employees, including back-to-work individuals, and become nimbler in manpower deployment.  In addition, employees can become more productive and achieve good work and personal outcomes.

Advantages for Employees
Having a flexible work arrangement, employees stand to experience a number of benefits:

  • Flexibility in meeting family and personal needs. With a flexible schedule, you can go to a parent-teacher conference during the day, take a yoga class to recharge and avoiding burnout, or be home when the washing machine repair person comes
  • Avoids traffic during rush hours. You might be amazed at how much faster a commute can be if you can drive to the office at 10:00 instead of 8:00 in the morning.
  • Reduction of commuting time and fuel costs. In some areas, employees may take more than an hour each way to travel to the office. If these employees can work from home, that saves two hours of time and gas.
  • Allowing people to work when they feel most productive at a certain time of the day and this leads to job satisfaction. Many a time, managers feel that early birds are hard workers and night owls are slackers. However, there's no evidence that that is the case — it's simply cultural.

Advantages for Employers
Employers do enjoy some benefits too with a flexible work arrangement:

  • Increased employee morale and commitment.  With the benefits experienced by the employees, this will lead to better engagement and reduced absenteeism or turnover which could lead to loss of productivity.
  • Ability to recruit outstanding employees.  A better work-life balance is what most employees seek and with the option of a flexible work arrangement, employers will be in a better position to attract talented employees.
  • Develops an image as an employer of choice.  A flexible work arrangement that caters for family-friendly flexible work schedules will usually project the company as an employer of choice.
  • Extended hours of operation for customer service.  With a flexible work arrangement, it will also be easier to spread the load of customer service support across peak and off-peak hours.

Employers can apply for grants and incentives to implement these FWAs. The enhanced Work-Life Grant aims to incentivise companies to sustain the use of FWAs for all employees, to create work-life harmony at the workplace.

The enhanced Work-Life Grant comprises 2 components:
1. FWA Incentive – Incentivise companies to sustain implementation of FWAs for their local employees.


Up to $70,000 per company over 2 years.

Computation (yearly)

$2,000 per local employee per year, who is a regular user of FWAs.

2. Job Sharing Incentive – Incentivise employers to implement job sharing for employees at PMET-level with a gross monthly salary of at least $3,600, before job-sharing arrangement.


Up to $35,000 per company over 2 years.

Computation (yearly)

$3,500 per local, full-time PMET employee per year, who is a regular user of job sharing.

Employers can tap on one or both components. 

Whether FWAs is the most trending thing now is less important than having the right people doing the right job in your company.  Feel free to contact CharterHouse if you have plans to adopt FWAs for your company.