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Social activities for singles and counselling for stressed workers among tripartite standard to boost work-life harmony

SINGAPORE — Organising social activities for single employees, providing stressed workers with professional counselling and subsidising workers’ gym memberships and even a portion of their holiday expenses are some recommended employment practices in a new tripartite standard to boost work-life harmony in Singapore.

SINGAPORE — Organising social activities for single employees, providing stressed workers with professional counselling and subsidising workers’ gym memberships and even a portion of their holiday expenses are some recommended employment practices in a new tripartite standard to boost work-life harmony in Singapore.

Launched on Monday (April 27), these employee support schemes cover areas such as family, health, mental wellness, lifestyle, staff development as well as workplace policies pertaining to working hours.

The standard recommends that employers provide enhanced leave benefits for staff, appoint a senior management member to champion work-life harmony and review the effectiveness of its work-life harmony programmes on a regular basis such as through surveys or group discussions.

The Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony was developed by the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), in response to recommendations by the Citizens' Panel on Work-Life Harmony as part of the Singapore Together movement. 

In a joint media release, the three organisations noted that the standard recognises that employees at different stages of their lives have varying priorities, and aims to help them effectively manage both work responsibilities and personal aspirations to achieve work-life harmony. 

“In this new normal, Singaporeans are becoming more used to hybrid work, but are also increasingly concerned about the blurring of work-life boundaries, and hope to be able to juggle work and personal commitments better,” Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang, who launched the standard, noted.

“This has given us the impetus to look at how we can better support employers and employees in achieving work-life harmony," she said, adding that adopting the new standard "will be a step in the right direction”. 

This standard includes recommendations on flexible work arrangements such as staggered hours and job-sharing put forth in an earlier 2017 tripartite standard.

The latest standard also recommends employers allow all workers to leave earlier than the usual end time on designated days.

"This may range from a general ruling of no meetings past a certain time to allowing employees to leave office a few hours earlier."

Employers are also recommended to make suitable arrangements for employees with caregiving responsibilities, including telecommuting or providing additional leave provisionsas well as to 

Ms Yeo Wan Ling, director of NTUC’s women and family unit, called on employers to think about how the concept of work-life harmony should also apply to men. 

“It is crucial that men contribute to caregiving needs in the family so that at the end of the day, both women and men alike experience work-life harmony,” she added.

To help companies take the first step in adopting the standard, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) will be conducting clinics and workshops.

On its website, Tafep suggests that to accommodate the diverse needs of employees, companies can also give them the flexibility to choose from a set range of benefits. 

“These types of schemes are popular, as they give employees the freedom to opt for benefits they prefer.”

Related topics

mental health stress workers singles Ministry of Manpower

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