Employers should be open to 4-day work week and other flexible work arrangements

·Senior Editor
·2 min read
Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang speaking in Parliament on 13 September 2022. (SCREENSHOT: Ministry of Information and Communications/YouTube)
Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang speaking in Parliament on 13 September 2022. (SCREENSHOT: Ministry of Information and Communications/YouTube)

SINGAPORE — Employers and employees should be open to flexible work arrangements in all its various forms including the four-day work week and adopt those that best suit their needs, Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said on Tuesday (13 September).

Speaking in Parliament, Gan also said that the four-day work week may not work for all employers and employees.

“As with any work arrangement, a four-day work week may work well for some employers and employees, but not for others. We should adopt a flexible mindset, a four-day work week is one of many types of flexible work arrangements.”

Gan was responding to a question by Radin Mas Member of Parliament Melvin Yong, who asked if the government is aware of any ongoing studies by third parties to examine the feasibility of a four-day work week in Singapore, and whether the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is considering a similar study.

Yong later asked a supplementary question on whether MOM would consider a small-scale trial of a four-day workweek involving a number of public servants, and assess the benefits and challenges based on the trial outcome.

In response, Gan said that MOM does not have any such plans.

Referring to reports of four-day work week pilots in Ireland, Japan, Spain and Belgium, Gan said the results in these countries appear to be mixed.

Some of the key concerns highlighted include the impact on productivity, business costs, and employee well-being, according to Gan. While productivity improvements have been reported in some cases, reduced hours have had to be compensated with the hiring of more labour in other cases, Gan said. Employees were also concerned about an impact on their salaries or longer work hours per day, she added.

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