S'poreans work too long hours, afflicted with presenteeism

Singaporeans clocked 45 hours a week in 2017.

Belmont Lay | May 01, 2018, 01:30 PM

While absenteeism can be a problem in any sphere, in Singapore, presenteeism will probably take its toll on those who are perpetually at work.

45 hours a week, congratulations

Because congratulations to all you hardworking locals, you are working one of the longest hours in the world.

Official data from the Manpower Ministry shows Singaporeans clocked an average of 45 hours of work a week for 2017.

This means that Singaporeans worked 2,340 hours a year.

An improvement

This is already a slight improvement from 45.3 hours a week in 2016.

However, for a more accurate look at the hours Singaporeans can clock, it is always good to observe the average figures before December.

This is so as December figures tend to fall as a result of clearing leave by the end of the year and offices slowing down operations during the festive season.

What the data shows over the years

Singapore has actually been improving on reducing the number of hours worked.

In 2012 and 2013, Singaporeans were clocking a high of 46.3 and 46.4 hours of work a week.

In other advanced economies, a regular work week is about 35 to 40 hours.

Measures taken

To alleviate the issue of presenteeism, the Singapore government has stepped in with funding and incentives to encourage companies to embrace a more flexible culture to help workers achieve work-life harmony.

Companies and even the civil service are encouraged to allow employees to work from home on certain days.

Another practice is for employees to work more hours on some days in exchange for time off on another weekday.

But such practices cannot be applied to all fields, especially those that require front line staff.


Other countries

In countries notorious for overtime culture, such as Japan, about 22 percent of Japanese work more than 49 hours a week, an authoritative 2015 statistic showed.

For the uninitiated, presenteeism is an unofficial condition where employees are perpetually at work and at the beck and call of their firms and employers, because of employment anxieties or the avoidance of other problems in life by using work and the workplace as a refuge.

Top photo shows Singaporeans bringing themselves to work

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