Minister of State for Manpower, Gan Siow Huang, was asked in Parliament yesterday (13 September) by MP Melvin Yong Yik Chye about if MOM is aware of any third-party studies in Singapore examining the feasibility of a four-day work week in Singapore.
He also asked if MOM considers this a core issue and whether they will prioritise the commission of their own study to look at the benefits and challenges of a 4-day work week here in Singapore.
Gan Siow Huang’s response
MP: Melvin Yong Yik Chye
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry is aware of any ongoing studies being conducted by third parties to examine the feasibility of a four-day work week in Singapore; and (b) if not, whether the Ministry will consider this as a core issue and prioritise the commission of its own study to examine the benefits and challenges of a four-day work week.
1. The Ministry is not aware of any ongoing studies conducted by third parties to examine the feasibility of a four-day work-week in Singapore.
2. We have noted reports of four-day work-week pilots in other countries such as Ireland, Japan, and Spain. Elsewhere, such as in Belgium, employees have the right-to-request for a four-day work-week, but with daily work hours extended so that the total number of hours worked per week remains the same. So far, results appear to be mixed. Some of the key concerns that stakeholders have include the impact on productivity, business costs, and employee well-being. While productivity improvements have been reported in some cases, this depends on sector and job type. In some instances, reduced work hours have had to be compensated by hiring more labour. At the same time, employees are concerned that their salaries could be reduced due to fewer hours worked, while some could face increased stress when they work more hours than usual in a day to complete their work.
3. As with any work arrangement, a four-day work-week may work well for some employers and employees but not others. We should adopt a flexible mindset. A four-day work week is one of many types of Flexible Work Arrangements, and the Ministry, together with tripartite partners, strongly encourage employers to be open to Flexible Work Arrangements in all its various forms to identify and adopt those that best meet their unique business and workers’ needs.