Politician keen to better support employees’ work-life balance
Singaporean Member of Parliament (MP), Louis Ng, has called for the implementation of work from home (WFH) legislation and an increase in annual leave entitlement to address the country’s overworked workforce. In a speech to Parliament, Ng stated that these policies are necessary to improve work-life balance and reset existing policies. Singapore has been identified as one of the most overworked, fatigued, and stressful cities in previous surveys, making it crucial to address the issue.
Ng clarified that the WFH legislation would not make the arrangement mandatory, but it would grant employees the right to choose. Employers would still be able to require employees to work in the office for specific business-related reasons. Ng acknowledged the Tripartite Standards for Work-Life Harmony and the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements, but emphasized that they were insufficient.
During the pandemic, WFH legislation was implemented, which benefited Singapore’s transport and healthcare systems, as well as addressed gender equality. However, this has since been replaced by Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements, which Ng described as a step backward. He criticized the strange penalties for the guidelines, such as curtailing work-pass privileges.
Ng also called for an increase in the minimum amount of annual leave entitlement, citing the seven-day minimum as “extremely low” compared to other Asian countries. He recognized the need to balance the needs of businesses but stressed the importance of supporting the overworked workforce.
The Ministry of Manpower has stated that it has no plans to review the potential impact of WFH legislation but expects WFH arrangements to become more mainstream.