MOM 'strongly encourages' flexible work arrangements, like 4-day week

"MOM does not intend to specify any trial or any rigidity or impose any of these formulas on the public sector."

Fiona Tan | September 13, 2022, 03:35 PM

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Employers and employees in Singapore are encouraged to be open to all the various forms of flexible work arrangements, including a 4-day work week.

4-day work week and flexible work arrangements

Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said this in response to Member of Parliament Melvin Yong Yik Chye's two-part question in Parliament on Sep. 13.

Yong asked if the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is aware of any ongoing third party studies in Singapore which examine the feasibility of a four-day work week in Singapore.

He followed up by asking whether MOM will consider a this a core issue, and subsequently prioritise and conduct its own study to examine the benefits and challenges of a four-day work week, if there were no such studies currently.

MOM not aware of any ongoing studies

Gan said MOM is not aware of any ongoing third party studies examining the feasibility of a 4-day work week in Singapore.

The ministry, however, is keeping tabs on similar studies overseas, where 4-day work weeks are being or have been piloted.

According to Gan, the results so far have "appear to be mixed".

In some cases, employers reported an increase in productivity. In other cases, however, the reduced number of hours had to be compensated by hiring more labour, and in turn, drove up business costs.

On the other hand, some employees are concerned that working fewer hours could result in reduced salaries, while others are worried about an increase in stress levels from having to work more hours to complete their tasks within a day.

People encouraged to be open to all types of flexible work arrangements

Gan said whether a 4-day work week is feasible for employers and employees ultimately rests on the sector and job title.

Employers and employees should adopt a flexible mindset, and the 4-day work week is just one of many types of flexible work arrangements.

MOM encouraged both parties to be open to all the various forms flexible work arrangements to identify and adopt those best suited to them.

MOM will not be imposing such flexible work arrangements on public sector

Yong followed up by asking if MOM will be open to conduct a small scale trial amongst some of its employees, or within other segments within the public sector.

Gan responded that while employers and employees within the private or public sector are welcome to try flexible work arrangements, the ministry does not intend to specify any trial or any rigidity or impose any of these formulas on the public sector.

Places with 4-day work week

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Top image screenshot from Ministry of Communications and Information Singapore/YouTube