Work-Life Grant: Promoting Singapore Employees’ Work-Life Balance
The ever evolving employment landscape has resulted in an increased demand for shorter business cycles, 24/7 operating workplaces, and longer work hours. While these practices prove to be beneficial to employers especially in the face of a highly competitive and fast-changing business industry, it may be detrimental to the workforce.
It is highly essential for the well-being of employees to be among any organization’s list of priorities. Striking a balance in an individual’s personal, family and work life contributes, at a great extent, to an overall healthy physical, mental and emotional state.
If you are starting a business in Singapore, enforcing work-life balance strategies at the workplace could provide a win-win situation for both you as an employer and employees. By promoting work-life balance strategies at a workplace, employees could able to conduct their work more efficiently and effectively.
Employees are not just looking for fair compensation. They are seeking to acquire new skills, more flexibility, and work-life balance. The most recent Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) showed that “55% of workers in Singapore will consider giving up higher pay for the opportunity to learn new skills, 45% for a more flexible schedule and 57% for improved work-life balance.”
The government launched programmes and initiatives to help promote work-life balance in Singapore. One such scheme to encourage Singapore employers to conceptualize and implement strategies to help employees achieve a work-life balance is the Work-Life Grant under the WorkPro Programme. The Labour Movement in partnership with the tripartite partners, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) developed the Work-Life Grant to encourage employers to initiate Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) for their employees. The grant has two (2) important components—a Flexible Work Arrangement Incentive and a Developmental Grant. Interested organizations may tap either of two components or both.
The Developmental Grant is a one-time grant that can cover up to S$40,000 of the total developmental expense of creating and implementing work-life strategies. Part of the requirements for this Grant is having a Work-Life ambassador that hails from the organization’s senior management in order to advocate and promote a work-life friendly environment at the workplace. It is also the task of the appointed Work-Life Ambassador to clearly explain the organizations’ work-life policies. There must be at least two (2) Work-Life policies to be implemented and offered to the employees. At the very least, fifteen percent (15%) of the total number of employees (with a minimum of 5 employees) must benefit from these work-life strategies. There is a 5-year maximum duration of projects under this program.
The Flexible Work Arrangement Incentive offers to cover up to S$120,000 per organization. The incentive covers S$40,000 annually for projects under the FWA in the course of three (3) years. Computations for the grant are dependent on how many Singaporean employees benefit from the FWAs. Those who are eligible for the said incentive can get S$10,000 with the first five (5) Singaporean employees who will benefit from the FWAs. Additionally, the company can get S$1,500 for every Singaporean employee who will benefit from the implemented FWA. In order to continue receiving subsequent payouts, the organization and employer must display continuous improvements and developments in the work-life status of the workplace. The main goal of the incentive is to nurture and support employees through providing a harmonious workplace that is indicative of work-life balance. Similar to the Developmental Grant, a Work-Life ambassador from the organization’s senior management must be appointed to be the main advocate of work-life balance strategies at the workplace. The Work-Life Ambassador must clearly explain the organizations’ work-life policies. There must be at least two (2) Work-Life policies to be implemented and offered to the employees. At the very least, fifteen percent (15%) of the total number of employees (with a minimum of 5 employees) must benefit from these work-life strategies. There is a 5-year maximum duration of projects under this program.
The recognized flexible work arrangements for the above Work-Life Grant components may be classified into the following: flexible time, flexible place, or part-time. However, only full-time employees may be covered by such FWAs. This means that ad-hoc and casual employees are not covered by such FWAs.