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Gan Siow Huang: Employees can report TAFEP if flexi-work request not well considered

Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang tells employees to seek TAFEP guidance if their flexible work requests aren’t adequately considered. Yet, she didn’t confirm penalties for non-compliant employers regarding FWA guidelines.



SINGAPORE: Minister of State (MOS) for Manpower Gan Siow Huang assured employees that if they feel their requests for flexible work arrangements (FWA) are not being adequately considered, they can seek assistance from their union or the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

During a Parliamentary sitting on Tuesday (7 May), she affirmed that TAFEP will be very happy to walk through with employers on their responsibilities under the new Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) Requests, which will take effect in December this year.

MOS Gan was responding to concerns raised by Louis Chua, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Sengkang GRC, regarding the potential rejection of FWA requests by employers due to cost or feasibility concerns.

In response, MOS Gan reiterated that employees who believe their requests have been unfairly dismissed, without proper consideration of business needs, can seek support from their union representatives or directly approach TAFEP for assistance.

The new guidelines mandate that every employer establish a formal process enabling their employees to submit requests for flexible work arrangements.

While employers maintain the right to decline such requests, their decisions must be justified by reasonable business grounds, such as cost or productivity concerns. They should include the reason for rejection in the written decision.

Furthermore, the guidelines outline what constitutes unreasonable grounds for rejecting requests.

No confirmation of penalties for non-compliant employers on FWA guideline

Separately, Louis Ng, PAP MP for Nee Soon GRC, sought clarity on the penalties for employers who persistently disregard the tripartite guidelines concerning flexible work arrangement (FWA) requests.

However, in response, MOS Gan refrained from confirming the existence of penalties for non-compliant employers.

Instead, she underscored Singapore’s competitive labour market dynamics, highlighting observations that employers in such environments tend to adopt flexibility in order to attract and retain talent.

MOS Gan emphasized that in Singapore’s context, where the labour market is similarly tight, employers understand the value of flexible work arrangements.

“last year alone, job vacancies that were advertised with flexible arrangement provisions actually attracted two to three times more times more applicants than those that did not.”

MOS Gan: employers should not cut the pay of workers on flexi-work arrangement

In response to Nominated MP Raj Thomas’s inquiry about the interaction between the tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangement requests and the progressive wage model, MOS Gan assured that employers should not cut the pay of workers on flexible arrangements if their productivity remains unaffected.

Mr Thomas raised concerns about whether an employer would reject a worker’s request for flexible work arrangements if it meant fewer workdays, potentially reducing the gross wage below the prescribed floor of the model.

In addressing this concern, Ms Gan questioned the assumption of pay reduction, emphasizing that employers must offer competitive pay to attract and retain skilled workers. She asserted that if the productivity of workers on flexible arrangements remains consistent, there is no justification for pay reduction.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng also joined the discussion, emphasizing that the essence of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) should drive the implementation of all guidelines.

He highlighted the collaborative nature of the flexible work arrangement guidelines, which were developed through tripartism, representing a highly nuanced approach.

“I think we are moving into newer waters, and I would seek an appeal to the understanding, the support and also the patience of all of us together as one united society, to come together to make this work for the betterment of all of our future generations of workers.”

Ms Gan tells Singaporean workers to upskill amid global outsourcing trends

Earlier, CNA reported that some employers voiced concerns about the potential impact of FWA on local hiring, considering seeking labour markets beyond Singapore’s borders, where costs are lower.

On Tuesday, Ms Gan reiterated that remote work and outsourcing are already global trends regardless of Singapore’s guidelines.

“Whether the trend will continue depends on whether employers feel that it makes business sense, and employers will need to weigh the pros and cons.”

She highlighted that while these trends may impact employment prospects, particularly with regards to competition from foreign workers, continuous upskilling will enable Singaporean workers to remain competitive both locally and globally.

“What is more important is for our workers to continually upskill sharpen our competitive edge and stay productive.”

“We will then be able to compete effectively for jobs not just in Singapore but globally,” she told employees.

Cheryl Chan, PAP MP for East Coast GRC, raised concerns regarding potential job offshoring and the impact on middle-aged professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) in light of the new flexible work arrangement guidelines.

In response, Ms Gan clarified that flexible work arrangements extend beyond remote work scenarios like working from home and assured that productivity wouldn’t be compromised. She emphasized that businesses prioritize their bottom lines when evaluating talent and costs.

Ms. Gan pointed out that the absence of flexible work arrangements wouldn’t necessarily deter job offshoring. She highlighted examples from the US where certain tech companies emphasize the importance of physical presence and teamwork.

Regarding middle-aged PMETs, Ms Gan stressed the importance of upskilling and maintaining career health to ensure employability.

Reiterating the guidelines’ stance, she emphasized that they don’t mandate flexible work arrangements or impose strict targets.

Ms Gan emphasized the need for flexibility to align with business sustainability and cautioned against enforcing arrangements that could negatively impact businesses and Singaporean employment prospects.

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Tafep is just another useless paper tiger. I won’t water my time reporting to them.

Coming from a useless CBL mayor? Error 404 brain not found.

Another free rider ministar. Need to be seen working hardly in an election year other than that is hardly working.

She was the one who mentioned that companies will move out of Singapore if we mandate minimum salary proposed by WP. But Pappy copied without due recognition accorded and call that Progress Wage Model. Shameless bunch.


Local dare report?
Like CASE like that ah?
Report already ,not only no flexi but also no job.
Jobs goes to FTs!

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