Guide to Requesting and Using Flexible Work Arrangements (For Employees)

Information for employees and individuals on requesting and using flexible work arrangements (FWAs)

When considering FWAs, employees are encouraged to have open discussions with their employer, to find a reasonable and mutually acceptable solution that balances both their personal need for flexible working, with the organisation’s objectives and goals. 

What employees should know about the TG-FWAR

Under the TG-FWAR, employees should:  

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

Requesting Flexible Work Arrangements

These are some of the key considerations to keep in mind as an employee, as you decide on whether to utilise an FWA. 

Suitability of FWAs

Assessing FWA Suitability

To assess the suitability of a specific FWA for your situation, you should familiarise yourself with its policies, guidelines, and eligibility requirements, where available in your organisation. You should also assess whether the nature of your job and work style are suitable for the FWA. Keep in mind that there could be different FWAs that would help address your situation and allow you to continue to carry out your work responsibilities effectively.

Consider these operational aspects, prior to raising the FWA request with your supervisor:

  • Reason for FWA request.
  • Type of work schedule and location if any.
  • Start and end dates for the proposed FWA.
  • How you will remain contactable and responsive to your team and customers while working flexibly, and how you will continue to deliver on work outcomes.
  • Alternative work arrangements if the proposed FWA is unsuitable or not feasible.
If the FWAs offered by your organisation are not suitable, you may try discussing other types of flexible work arrangements with your supervisor.

Making a FWA Request 

If you are making a request for an FWA, check if your organisation has an existing process and use this if available. 

If your organisation does not have a process for employees to submit FWA requests, you may opt to submit a formal FWA request using the process provided in the Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests (TG-FWAR)

Submit a formal FWA request

A formal FWA request is one that is made in writing. The request should include the following information:

  • The date of the request.
  • The FWA requested for, including its expected frequency and duration.
  • Reason for the FWA request.
  • Requested start date and end date (if relevant).

Eligibility to make a formal FWA request

Under the TG-FWAR, employees who have completed their probationary period (as stipulated by the employer), may make a formal FWA request.   

Acceptance and rejection of FWA requests
Employers have the prerogative to make the final decision on FWA requests from employees. An FWA request may be rejected based on reasonable business grounds.

Communication of final decision on formal FWA requests: 

  • You should receive a written decision from your employer within two months of them receiving the request.
  • If the request is rejected, your employer should communicate the reason for rejection in the written decision.
  • Your employer is also encouraged to discuss alternatives with you, if the FWA request is rejected.

Addressing concerns where mutual understanding cannot be reached

If you have a concern regarding your formal FWA request (e.g., it is not properly considered according to the TG-FWAR) and are unable to resolve this with your supervisor, you should raise your concerns through the organisation’s internal grievance handling procedure as far as possible. Unionised employees can also seek advice and assistance from their unions. 

Employee Resources:
Employees may use the Template FWA Request Form in Annex A of the TG-FWAR.
Employees may refer to the Types of FWAs.

Effectively Using Flexible Work Arrangements 

When FWAs are used effectively and responsibly, the benefits are wide-reaching. The positive impact includes better work-life harmony and productivity for the employee, positive team dynamics and organisational work culture, and supports employers in meeting organisational goals. 

Other Considerations When Requesting for FWAs

Performance evaluation and remuneration

Certain types of FWAs (e.g. part-time work), may result in a change in your work scope and responsibilities. If your FWA results in a reduced work schedule, your salary and benefits may be pro-rated. You are encouraged to have a candid conversation with your supervisor before applying for the FWA (e.g., on feasibility, expectations, key performance indicators, and deliverables).

Maintaining work performance while working flexibly

  • Clarify your role and responsibilities with your supervisor. Knowing your expected deliverables within the team and projects is essential to help you plan and deliver on work targets. 
  • Discuss and determine clear guidelines on availability with your supervisor. Have an open discussion on how/when you will need to be available, acceptable response times and communication channels.
  • Maintain accountability for work deliverables. If your working hours are different from your supervisor, make the effort to constantly communicate your work progress and provide updates.
  • Inform co-workers and customers about your working arrangements in advance to minimise work disruptions and remain contactable during work hours.
  • Establish regular check-ins via virtual meetings or in-person with your supervisor, team members and clients. This to discuss project progress, address concerns, and maintain alignment on goals.
  • Leverage technology tools such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and collaboration platforms to stay connected with colleagues and clients regardless of location.
  • Prioritise workplace emergencies over your work arrangements, where necessary (e.g., return to office for urgent meetings when telecommuting).
  • Familiarise yourself with communication guidelines (e.g., accessibility and response times, and what to do when workplace emergencies occur).
  • Be mindful of business confidentiality when working remotely and take the necessary precautions to safeguard all work-related information and materials.

Employee Resources: 
Work-Life Harmony Guide for Businesses: The Role of Employees
Telecommuting tips: Success Strategies for Employees

Further Support for Employees

Employees whose employers do not adhere to the TG-FWAR (e.g., employer did not properly consider their formal FWA request) can seek help in the following ways: 

Raise your concerns through your organisations grievance handling process

If you have a concern regarding your formal FWA request (e.g., it is not properly considered according to the TG-FWAR) and are unable to resolve this in the initial discussions with your supervisor, you should raise your concerns through the organisation’s internal grievance handling procedure as far as possible. 

Your organisation’s grievance handling policy may be found in your employee handbook or organisation's intranet. 

Approach your Union If your organisation is unionised or if you are a union member

If your organisation is unionised and you are a union member, please approach the Union to assist you in raising your grievance to management.

Alternatively, you may approach NTUC for assistance and related resources via:

NTUC Workplace Advisory


An online service offering members advice and help on workplace and employment-related issues

U PME Centre

A one-stop workplace advisory centre for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) who are NTUC union members

Contact TAFEP for further advice and assistance

If you are unable to resolve the incident within your organisation, or if there is no channel for you to report the incident within your organisation, please contact us for advice and assistance.

Based on your report, TAFEP will make an assessment on the follow-up needed with the employer.