I refer to the article, “Lack of trust, rigid policies among reasons workers told to return to office” (May 28).
While the past year has been challenging for both employers and employees, who have had to adjust to different ways of working, it is heartening to note that more employers have implemented at least one type of flexible work arrangement to take better care of the health and safety of their employees.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, including firms that also offered unplanned time-off and/or ad hoc teleworking, 93 per cent of firms provided some form of flexible work arrangement last year, covering about 97 per cent of employees.
Some employers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, may have found it difficult adjusting to the retightening of workplace safe management measures, given the short two days’ notice before the heightened alert period was implemented.
Some employers needed clarifications about the safe management measures advisory for the heightened alert period.
For example, an employer providing essential services wondered if a proportion of employees could continue to work in the office to better support its front-line staff.
Under the advisory updated on May 14, employees should work from home as long as they are able to do so.
The priority at this time is to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the community.
Thus, the Singapore National Employers Federation reminds employers that the work-from-home arrangement is the default for all employees who can work from home, and does not depend on whether a firm is providing essential services or has made manpower declarations to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The past year has shown that trust between employers and employees is critical to sustaining business and employment.
As the Covid-19 situation evolves, work arrangements will keep changing.
It is therefore crucial that employers and employees work together in this fight against the pandemic.
Employers should continue to show care for their employees’ safety and welfare, and explain why they need to resume work on-site, while employees should try to adapt to the changes.
This partnership will help our economy reopen safely for the benefit of all.
Sim Gim Guan
Singapore National Employers Federation