New Flexible Work Arrangements Guidelines Coming in Dec 2024—What Does it Mean for Us?

New Flexible Work Arrangements Guidelines Coming in Dec 2024—What Does it Mean for Us?
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Singaporeans are placing higher values on fulfilling both their professional and personal responsibilities. Ever since the introduction of remote working during the pandemic, nearly 93% now prefer workplace flexibility. 38% of Singaporeans are willing to prioritise work-life balance by accepting a pay cut or declining job offers if flexible hours or working-from-home (WFH) clauses weren’t on the table. 

Enter Flexible Work Arrangements. According to a set of new Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests released on 16 Apr 2024 by the Tripartite Workgroup on Flexible Work Arrangements, employers must consider requests for flexible hours, workload or locations from Dec 2024. 

This article will explore the latest guidelines, highlighting the key features and discussing the main flexible work arrangement (FWA) options. We will also provide insights on how employees and employers can maximise the benefits of flexi-work in 2025.


New Flexible Work Arrangements Guidelines Coming in Dec 2024

  1. What are the new Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests about?
  2. Main types of Flexi-Work Arrangements
  3. What do employees and employers stand to gain from FWA?
  4. How to make a FWAs request
  5. Employer’s grounds for denying FWAs Request
  6. Potential drawbacks of FWAs


What are the new Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests about?

Coming in on 1 Dec 2024, the new TG-FWAR aims to shape the appropriate norms and expectations by defining how employees can request and benefit from FWAs, as well as how employers should handle these FWA requests. Here’s what to expect: 

For employees 

The TG-FWAR outlines that employees should:  

  • Request & use FWAs responsibly
  • Use the organisation’s existing FWA request process, if available 
  • Have an open & constructive discussion with your employer when requesting a FWA  
  • Seek a mutually beneficial solution; one that satisfies individual & organisational needs
  • Understand that the final decision on FWA requests is the employer’s prerogative & may be rejected based on reasonable business grounds 
  • If disagreements arise & cannot be mutually resolved, raise concerns through the internal grievance handling process

For employers

Meanwhile, all employers are required to: 

  • Implement a process to manage formal FWA requests from employees
  • Communicate the process of submission & management of these requests
  • Provide timely responses to formal FWA requests
  • While it is an employer’s right to approve or reject FWA requests, rejections should be based on reasonable business grounds
  • Use internal grievance handling processes to manage concerns & grievances should they arise

Within the Guidelines, employees can now request for three types of FWAs, or Flexi-Works – Flexi-Place, Flexi-Time, and Flexi-Load.

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Main types of Flexi-Work Arrangements 

In a nutshell, FWAs are a suite of options that give you more control over your work-life balance. This includes flexible hours, remote work, and compressed workweek compared to the traditional 5-day model we are used to. Once the FWAs are officially adopted, you can request for: 



Employees granted Flexi-Place can work in different locations aside from their usual office. For example, telecommuting, co-working spaces, or working from home

Should you explore working remotely overseas, you’re eligible for up to 4 days in agreement with your employer and may extend this for up to 20 days a year. This arrangement is most suitable for non-physical roles such as advertising, design, or teaching gigs. 

Flexi-Place is currently one of Singapore’s fastest-growing Flexi-Works trends. WeWork Singapore, a leading coworking provider, indicates that the nation’s flexible workspaces, including their space hubs, will account for 50% of the business’ real estate portfolio by 2025, up from 20% in 2023. 



Flexi-Time requests can be narrowed to two smaller categories for adjustable working hours – Staggered Hours or Compressed Work Schedule. 

  • Staggered Hours: 

If you need to care for elderly family members in the morning and want to resume work afterwards, you can request for Flexi-Hour. This allows you to work at any time of day, as long as you complete the required hours within the workweek.

  • Compressed Work Schedule: 

Let’s say you want a longer weekend, you can request for the Compressed Schedule arrangement. This allows you to choose how many work days and hours you want to compress. The most common is the 4/40 arrangement – in which you work four days of 10 hours and take the fifth weekday off.

These types of arrangements are suited for those working in creative, technology or software engineering industries, whereas logistics and operations may be less so as work must be done on-site. 

A case in point is Northrop Grumman Australia. Ranking ninth globally as one of the most flexible employers, they offer a range of Flexi-Time packages, including four-and-a-half-day weeks and nine-day fortnights. Paid Parental Leave options of up to two weeks were also available for primary household breadwinners. 



In terms of flexible workload, you can request for either a part-time post or job-sharing with another employee: 

  • Part-time work: Typically working less than 35 hours/week, and only work for some days or less than a full day, these arrangements are for shift-based occupations such as retail & customer services. 
  • Job-Sharing: Job-sharing is a recent trend in which two employees share the responsibilities of a single job. You can work different hours or even choose a different week than your colleagues. 


Around 330 Singaporean businesses have since offered flexi-load arrangements. Banking institutions have also joined the initiative, with HSBC offering job-sharing packages to foreign remote workers. UOB also allowed expectant employees to work part-time for two days per week to accommodate family responsibilities. 

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What do employees and employers stand to gain from FWA?

Aside from the aforementioned personal advantages, you and your employers will also gain from these benefits: 

For employees 

  • Reduced work-related stress, burnout & improved overall mental well-being
  • Increased job satisfaction, morale & loyalty to the organisation
  • Greater autonomy and control over work schedules, leading to higher productivity
  • Ability to align & pursue personal interests/ hobbies
  • Attend to family needs without sacrificing your career 
  • Opportunities for career advancement & professional development (i.e pursuing higher education or training programs) without disrupting personal responsibilities

For employers

  • Increased employee long-term retention & loyalty due to improved work-life balance
  • Access to a wider talent pool by attracting individuals who require FWAs or prioritise work-life balance
  • Enhanced productivity & efficiency as employees can work during their most productive hours
  • Improved employee’s morale, satisfaction & well-being
  • Potential cost savings through reduced overhead expenses associated with office space and utilities

For work environments: 

FWAs can also improve the company’s inclusivity policies and achieve the 40% inclusivity employment vision by 2030, by accommodating employees’ diverse needs and circumstances, extending beyond elderly caregiving: 

  • Parents with young children can better balance work & family responsibilities
  • Persons with mild sensory disabilities (ie. hearing impairments & dyslexia) will be provided with specific accommodations by FWAs, to encourage full participation in the workforce
  • Flexible schedules & remote work options can support employees with health conditions or transportation challenges, such as heart problems & spinal muscular atrophy

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How to make a FWAs request 

Wondering how to request a FWAs once December comes? Here are the key steps that you should follow: 

  1. Write a formal request or use the template provided by TAFEP.
  2. Carefully state the date of request, your reasons for FWAs & the duration you require. Along with caregiving responsibilities, there is no constraint to what reasons you have for FWAs.
  3. Submit your request via the company’s work portal. Your employers are required to carefully review the request & communicate their decisions no later than 2 months after submission.

This is an example of the specifics required within your FWAs Formal Request: 

“I propose altering my Monday through Friday work hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. This change would allow me to take my 6-year-old daughter to school in the mornings. I propose that this arrangement commence on January 1, 2025, and end on December 31, 2025.”

Note: The FWAs only serve as compulsory guidelines, instead of a legal enforcement. As such, your employers retain sole discretion over whether to approve or reject your request. 

Furthermore, FWAs offer a lighter workload, which means you may receive lower remuneration than your colleague working regular hours full-time. Before submitting, carefully consider the options for which are best suited for your needs. 

Are immediate & informal requests acceptable?

No, they’re not. Informal requests, such as day-to-day email exchanges or impromptu ad hoc meetings do not fall within purview of the FWAs guidelines. You must come up with a thorough process prior to submitting your flexible work request to be duly considered. 

Your requests will only be deemed valid once you

  • Have made a request in written form (either printing out the TAFEP template or writing your own) & included all the required information showcased above. 
  • Have complied with your employer’s stipulated requirements (i.e work safety or deliverables & performance assurance after FWAs grant) & your company’s formal FWA request process.

When in doubt, you can always refer back to TAFEP’s main portal for more information.  


Employer’s grounds for denying FWAs Request

If your request is denied, employers must provide written grounds for dismissal based on business reasons. Rejections typically happen when employers conclude that your FWAs will contribute to: 

  • Increased Operational Costs: If FWAs significantly increase operational costs, this is a valid reason for denial. This could include costs for equipment, infrastructure, or additional staffing to cover your flexible hours.
  • Reduced Productivity: Employers may deny the request should they think that FWAs lead to reduced productivity, which includes concerns over your ability to perform outside of office settings. 
  • Companies Need New Employees: If your work scope & responsibilities require additional hirings to cover, then this could be a legitimate reason for FWA denial.

Note: Companies can’t deny your request simply because they don’t support remote work and flexible hours, or attribute it to the organisation’s tradition or practices. 

Should you have disagreements with your employers, you should resolve the conflicts internally. If necessary, your union can provide further assistance, and employers who disregard the guideline will face corrective workshops or warnings issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). 

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Potential drawbacks of FWAs 

While TAFEP’s FWA guidelines aim to administer communication between employers and employees on work-life balance solutions, they don’t carry the legal enforcement of government regulations. Some of the downsides include: 

Approvals are almost always not guaranteed

The reality is some employers will try to find any loophole under the ‘reasonable business grounds” clause to reject your requests. 

For example, individual contributors (ie. animators or software engineers) may argue that their task-based work can be completed anywhere and at any time, as long as deadlines are met. Employers may deny the request if they believe even ICs should be available for meetings with stakeholders to ensure internal communication. 

The broadness of the ground rules, combined with a lack of strict oversight on the decision-making processes, can result in a torrent of request denials. 

Stigmas surrounding FWAs request submission 

Furthermore, Singaporeans aged 25-31 express concerns that employers who are already resistant to Flexi-Works may try to stifle their career advancement opportunities, while coworkers perceive them as not being a ‘team player’. 

Even when a formal process is in place, environmental and social factors may turn heads away from submitting requests without proper regulations to enforce it.

Difficult to implement among SMEs 

Another key consideration is that smaller-to-medium-sized enterprises may struggle to implement new arrangements if they are strictly regulated. Some companies may not even have a dedicated HR department to oversee such policies – simply because the team is too small. 

While we’re facing a manpower crunch, companies are facing a squeeze in their revenue with budget cuts across the board. To transit into FWA, companies require additional funding for part-time gigs and job-sharing. Purchasing and maintaining the tools for remote work, ie. virtual communication and collaboration tools, and cyber-security support, can be quite costly. 

Considering that 99% of companies in SIngapore are SMEs, it’s unlikely to see an eager response unless there are government funds or subsidies to support the new move.

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Closing thoughts: How to make FWAs work best for Singaporeans 

Although there is still room for improvement, FWAs are leading us in the right direction. Fortunately, 77% of Singaporeans believe employers are more concerned with their well-being than they were several years ago. 

With this new guideline, employers can become proactive in implementing flexi-policies that enhance communication, goal-setting, regular check-ins, and work-life boundaries with employees. Enabling a supportive environment that allows employees to thrive while businesses retain their top talents. Ultimately, a win-win situation for everyone. 


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