Employee Support Schemes

What are some employee support schemes you can offer to employees.

What Are Employee Support Schemes

Employee Support Schemes (ESS) help employees manage the non-work aspects of their lives, especially the 'time stress' faced by many. These programmes may involve the creative use of existing organisation resources, simple gestures of appreciation for employees and their families, and health and wellness programmes.

Why It Matters

The benefits enjoyed by employees can bring about greater motivation and engagement in their work.

Types of Employee Support Schemes

You can offer different types employee support schemes, such as the ones presented below.

To accommodate the diverse needs of your employees, you may also offer a flexible benefit scheme. Under this scheme, employees are given flexibility to choose from a set range of benefits. These types of schemes are popular, as they give employees the freedom to opt for benefits they prefer.

Family

Bring Children to Work Day

A day where employees bring their children to the workplace. This allows employees’ children to gain a better understanding of the work their parents do. Usually, child-friendly programmes and activities are also organised (e.g. movie screenings, magic shows, lunch).

Bursaries

Monetary benefits set aside to reward employees’ children who have achieved academic excellence. These bursaries are designed to encourage them to perform well at school, and express the organisation’s care for employees’ families.

Childcare Arrangements

Special arrangements to address the needs of employees with young children. Childcare arrangements may include childcare centres within/near work premises, before and after school centres within/near work premises, and island-wide childcare centres with enrolment privileges for employees.

Childcare Subsidies

Monetary benefits or discounts to reduce the cost of childcare services. Organisations offer this with the understanding that employees need to make such arrangements due to work commitments.

Eat With Your Family Day

A symbolic day where employees are allowed to leave the office at a specified time to have dinner with their family (e.g. 5pm). This is usually an annual event, which falls on a Friday before the start of the mid-year school break for students. It is organised by the Centre for Fathering, as part of National Family Week.

Some organisations may choose to take this one step further and schedule regular Eat With Your Family Days to encourage employees to spend quality time with their family members.

Eldercare Arrangements

Special arrangements made with eldercare centres or eldercare service providers to ensure that employees’ elderly parents are cared for during work.

Eldercare Subsidies

Monetary benefits or discounts to reduce the cost of eldercare services. Organisations offer this with the understanding that employees need to make such arrangements due to work commitments.

Family Day

An event where employees and their family members participate in common activities, usually in an informal setting. The activities can range from health and sports events to overseas trips. These activities aim to facilitate bonding between employees and their families, as well as enhance relationships between co-workers.

Family Information and Referral Service

A compilation of family-related resources, which may be in the form of a website, booklet, hotline or helpdesk. Information may include family-friendly attractions, a list of childcare/eldercare service providers, and a list of retail outlets selling family products. These are typically offered at a discounted rate to employees of the organisation.

Family Relocation Programme

This scheme is common in organisations that require their employees to be relocated overseas for long periods of time. It includes monetary benefits (e.g. when a spouse is required to stop work in order to follow the employee and care for children), assistance, (e.g. to settle housing, transport and school enrolment, tax advice), and counselling services to help employees adjust to the new environment.

Family Room

A designated space within the organisation for employees to leave their children or other family members while they attend to work. This room is usually equipped with family-friendly items, such as a DVD player, TV, books, or games. For example, an employee coming in over the weekend for a few hours may leave their children in the family room to read books, do their homework, or watch DVDs.

Gifts for Hospitalisation

Goodwill gestures to express the organisation’s concern for their employees’ personal life and well-being. May come in the form of hampers, vouchers, cash, or red packets.

Gifts for Marriage

Goodwill gestures from the organisation to signify their congratulations. May come in the form of hampers, vouchers, cash, or red packets.

Gifts for New-Born Baby

Goodwill gestures to express the organisation’s interest in their employees’ personal life and well-being. May come in the form of hampers, vouchers, cash, or red packets.

Lactation Support

The promotion of a breastfeeding-friendly culture, flexible lactation breaks, and the provision of a private lactation room for mothers. Having such protection and support at the workplace encourages and enables new mothers tor return to work. The lactation room should come equipped with chairs, electric sockets for breast pumps, refrigerators, hot water, and sinks.

Refer to Project Liquid Gold for more resources on supporting lactating mothers and creating a culture that is conducive to new mothers.

Medical and Insurance Coverage

A scheme that usually includes medical or dental claims for work (e.g. overseas travel). It is provided to ensure the physical well-being of employees and their family members.

On-Site Childcare Centres

An arrangement where the organisation partners with a childcare service provider to provide childcare services within the office premises. Employees of the organisation are commonly offered a discount and given priority over members of the public during enrolment.

Takeaway Food Services

An arrangement in which the organisation partners with internal or external vendors to provide takeaway food services for employees and their families. This is done to help employees prepare meals for their family after work.

Health and Fitness

Health Screening

An annual programme that measures health and fitness levels. This scheme is often coupled with workplace health promotion programmes that share useful information to help employees lead a healthier lifestyle.

Health and Wellness Programmes

Programmes organised to promote the health and fitness levels of employees. Activities include lunchtime health seminars, exercise classes, interest groups as well as participation in marathons and competitions. Organisations may also provide gym memberships or subsidies, or in-house gym facilities.

Corporate Gym Membership

An arrangement whereby the organisation signs up as a corporate member with a specific gym located near the office, or chain of gyms located across the island.

Employees may use their employees identification to use the gym’s facilities. In some cases, entry is limited to a specific number of employees per day or time period.

Subsidy for Gym Membership

A scheme where the organisation pays a certain amount for the employee’s gym membership. The subsidy amount varies, and this may be done in conjunction with partnerships with specific gyms.

Fruits Day

A designated day during the week or month where employees are given fruits to promote a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits.

Mental Wellness

Counselling Services/Hotline for Employee Assistance

Anonymous phone or personal consultations with professional counsellors to help employees deal with personal or work stress.

Staff Support

A range of training programmes and mentoring/support activities to address the negative effects of workload and help employees to cope more effectively.

Lunch and Working Hours

Flexible Lunch Time

Flexibility given to employees to manage their personal needs or demands during lunch break (e.g. one-hour lunch break any time between 12pm and 2pm).

Lunchtime Swap

Flexibility given to employees to manage their personal needs or demands during lunch break, through a shorter lunch on one day (e.g. half-hour) and a longer lunch on another day (e.g. one-and-a-half-hours).

Leaving Early from Work

A variety of work-life policies to leave earlier than the usual end time on designated days. This may range from a general ruling of no meetings past a certain time to allowing employees to leave office a few hours earlier.

Recreation and Bonding

Team/Company Celebrations

Team or organisation-wide activities to celebrate special occasions or commemorate specific events. Some examples include birthdays, anniversaries, and Dinner & Dance.

Social Activities for Singles

A range of social activities designed to facilitate social interaction and networking among singles. Such activities may be within the organisation or in conjunction with other organisations.

Staff Lounge/Recreation Area/Clubhouse

A designated space which is specially furnished and equipped with games and food. The objective is to create an informal and accessible space for employees to relax. Some organisations allow employees to bring in their family members as an added benefit.

Corporate Membership for Recreational Activities and Attractions

A scheme that allows employees and a specified number of family members/friends can enjoy activities and attractions at a discounted rate or for free (e.g. clubhouse, holiday accommodation, gym, zoo, entry into Sentosa).

Holiday Subsidies/Accommodation

A scheme where organisations that own holiday accommodation offer their employees vouchers to stay in one of these properties when they go on holiday. Alternatively, a portion of the employee’s holiday expenses may be subsidised (e.g. accommodation).

Lifestyle

Concierge Service

A broad range of services to address the day-to-day needs of employees. Organisations that provide services as part of their business operations may extend these to employees at a discounted rate or for free. In other cases, they may tie-up with service providers or subsidise such services.

Some examples of concierge services include delivery, banking of cheques, posting of letters, and restaurant bookings.

Dry-Cleaning Services

This is typically offered by organisations that require their employees to be professionally attired or outfitted in professional uniforms. Dry-cleaning services may be done internally (e.g. in hotels) or outsourced to vendors.

Employee Benefits and Discounts

Goods or services provided at a discounted rate or for free (e.g. employee discounts). Organisations may also tie up with service providers or subsidise such services for employees.

Financial Assistance

A broad range of monetary loans and benefits (e.g. loans or subsidies for car, housing, and equipment). Financial assistance may also include personal loans or subsidies to financially assist employees and their families.

Staff Development

Cross-Functional Work-Life Committee

A work-life committee that includes representatives from various departments or functions within the organisation. This serves as a way to obtain information about the needs of employees from the participating departments, and increase participation in work-life programmes.

Scholarship

Monetary benefit awarded to encourage lifelong learning. Scholarships act as subsidies for tuition fees and book allowances for employees, especially for approved courses related to the organisation’s business operations.

Some organisations also offer scholarships to the school-going children of employees.

Talks and Workshops on Work-Life Harmony

Talks and workshops that focus on topics such as managing the demands of work and personal or family needs, enhancing family relationships, and coping with family responsibilities.

Work-Life Training for Middle Managers

A variety of training programmes that deal with work-life harmony issues (e.g. managing employees on flexible work arrangements, enabling or facilitating work-life harmony within the business unit, personal work-life effectiveness).