S'porean workers should be allowed to take up 2 jobs for 'better job security': Chong Kee Hiong

Thinking out of the box.

Kayla Wong | September 01, 2020, 03:39 PM

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Many employers bar their full-time employees from taking up a second job, but this thinking should change, said Chong Kee Hiong, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Workers can learn and apply new skills in a second role or job

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Sep. 1, Chong put forth his proposal that employees should be allowed to take up two jobs for "better job security".

But this should be subject to labour regulations to "protect the workers from overwork and also to regulate potential conflict of interests", he added.

Workers could "learn and apply new skills to pursue an additional vocation within the same company or in a second job", the CEO of Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust added.

He explained that encouraging such a practice would allow the worker to develop a broader set of skills that will allow "more flexibility in career switches within a shorter window of time" should there be a need to.

Employers with diversified businesses can try this

As for employers, they need to identify complementary sectors which are "sufficiently differentiated to provide resilience through diversification" in order to allow employees to take up "concurrent positions in different business units", Chong said.

Raising an example, he said the Food and Beverage sector was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but supermarkets and online grocers saw a jump in orders as people are still eating, albeit at home.

"So, if a company runs a restaurant and also sells and delivers food ingredients, it will be able to ride out this storm better," he opined.

He further suggested that conglomerates with diversified businesses can try this arrangement first by having their employees take on "dual roles in their different companies".

He added that the employees' pay should not be affected in this arrangement.

Singaporeans who possess multiple skill sets should be allowed chance to contribute more

Saying that this "dual-job thinking may seem out-of-the-box", Chong said it should be recognised that there are many Singaporeans who possess multiple skill sets.

These people would therefore be able to contribute at "a higher level within the same company" or go for a second vocation to diversify their income sources, he said.

Acknowledging that this approach is not for certain jobs nor everyone, Chong explained that he is suggesting for companies and workers who are willing to try to be allowed to do so, without compromising their productivity and work-life balance.

He further said the government could perhaps incentivise companies and workers to adopt this approach.

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Top image via CNA video