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Singapore – Job flexibility scheme should not be abused

19 March 2013

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in Singapore has urged employers to be “reasonable" when introducing the Job Flexibility Scheme, which allows foreign workers across the services sector to work across different job functions within the same firm.

The scheme was first implemented in the hospitality industry last year and has been designed to enhance productivity. It has now been extended to the services sector amid tight regulations on foreign workers.

Yeo Guat Kwang, director of the NTUC and chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre, said that companies should not penalise employees who do not wish to take part in the scheme. Employers should also be monitored to ensure the scheme is not abused.

“We would like to remind employers that they must share the productivity gains with employees. With job flexibility, employers can achieve manpower optimisation, thereby improving productivity,” said Mr Yeo.

“Such productivity benefits should be shared with employees, especially those who have contributed by performing multiple job functions, in a manner that is fair and commensurate with the employees' contributions. Employers should also give multi-tasking and additional income opportunities fairly to both local and foreign employees. Employers also must ensure that employees be trained properly before being tasked to take on the enhanced work functions and scope, which may include on-the-job learning.”

From 1 July 2013, businesses in the services sector can offer their work permit holders the opportunity to work across different job functions. This should help companies reduce the need for extra staff.  “This move is in line with the government's efforts to help businesses boost productivity and become more manpower-lean while coping with labour constraints,” the ministry of manpower said.

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