Work-Life Programmes

Types of Flexible Work Arrangements, Enhanced Leave Schemes and Employee Support Schemes

The Benefits of Work-Life Programmes

The Benefits of Work-Life Programmes

Work-life programmes refer to a variety of workplace practices designed to support employees in achieving a healthy integration of their work responsibilities and personal lives. These programmes can be broadly segmented into three categories: flexible work arrangements, enhanced leave schemes, and employee support schemes.

The aim of work-life programmes is to enhance employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity, while also promoting a positive organisational culture.

What are Flexible Work Arrangements?

Flexible work arrangements are work arrangements where employers and employees agree to a variation from the usual work arrangement. Flexible work arrangements can be broadly classified under:

  • Flexi-time
  • Flexi-load
  • Flexi-place

Why It Matters

FWAs help you to attract and retain talent competitively and deploy manpower more nimbly. This flexibility also helps your employees to become more productive, as they can better manage their work and personal responsibilities.

Types of FWAs

  • Time
  • Location
  • Workload


Compressed Work Schedule

Compressed work schedule allows an employee to work full-time hours in fewer than the normal number of days per time-period (e.g. 40 hours within a 4 day work-week).

This arrangement may not be suitable if your work requires set hours or involves daily deadlines. Compressed work schedules may not be feasible if all your employees need to be present at the job site at all times.

More on compressed work schedule

Creative Scheduling

Creative scheduling involves work schedules that are flexible and meets needs of specific employee teams. It may be implemented to accommodate existing employees’ personal and family needs, or to attract employees with needs that do not fit into traditional work schedules.

For example, industries may have a variety of shift patterns which appeal to different employee groups allowing companies to improve recruitment and retention.

Employees Choice of Days Off

Employees choice of days off allows employees to plan their work schedules and determine their day(s) off. Balloting may be used to ensure that daily operations run smoothly and fair allocation of day(s) off.

This option is particularly relevant for certain industries (e.g. retail, where employees are required to work on weekends and are able to choose their day off on weekdays).


Flexi-hours is an arrangement where employees are contracted to work a certain number of hours over an accounting period (e.g. 20-hour work week). Under this arrangement, employees can work at any time of the day, as long as they complete the stipulated hours within the work week.

Flexi-hours is more common in jobs where activities are not dependent on meeting colleagues or clients at specific times of the day.


Flexi-shift is an arrangement where employees specify the days or hours they can work, and are scheduled accordingly (e.g. caregivers of school-going children may opt for three to four hours in the afternoon while the children are at school, or during weekends when other caregivers are available).

This work arrangement may overlap with part-time work or job sharing (e.g. two or more cashiers share one full-time position throughout the work week).

Shift Swapping

Shift swapping allows shift-workers to trade shifts with one another when the need arises. This enables them to arrange their schedule to meet their personal needs and family responsibilities.

Staggered Time

Staggered time allows employees to vary their daily start and end times to suit their work and personal commitments. Typically, there is a core time during which employees must work (e.g. 10am to 4pm). Staggered time is useful in multinational organisations that deal with different time-zones.

More on staggered time

Time Banking

Time banking is an arrangement where an employer and employee agree on a fixed number of work hours to be completed over a specified time period (e.g., 24 hours a week). If an employee is required to work additional hours, these are accumulated in a ‘time bank’ and may be taken as time off in-lieu.

*Under normal business situations, employers cannot use this arrangement for employees who are covered under the Employment Act (EA) as these employees are entitled to be paid for overtime work or work done on their stipulated rest days. 



Telecommuting is a flexi-place arrangement where the job is performed at a location other than the workplace. It uses information and communication technologies to connect teams virtually and enable employees to respond to clients remotely. Telecommuting may be conducted on a situational or regular basis.

More on telecommuting


Interim Work

Interim work is the hiring of an employee on a part-time or full-time basis for a specific period of time or project. Interim employees cut across all levels, from senior management to rank-and-file employees. Seasonal work and project-based work are examples of interim work.

Job Sharing

Job sharing allows two or more part-time employees to share the responsibilities of one full-time employee. Responsibilities may be divided by function, geography, time, or workload.

Job sharing employees will usually work at different times during the day or week, or on alternate weeks. This arrangement may involve a time of overlap to maintain continuity.

More on job sharing

Part-Time Work

Part-time work is an arrangement in which employees work reduced hours on a regular basis. Part-time employees normally work less than 35 hours in a week, including those who work less than a full day all week or only some days per week.

More on part-time work

Phasing In or Out

Phasing in is an arrangement where employees joining an organisation can move from a part-time position to a full-time position. It includes employees returning to work after an extended period of leave (e.g. part-time employees on maternity leave converting back into a full-time position). Phasing out is an arrangement where employees leaving an organisation can move from a full-time position to a part-time position (e.g. phased retirement).

To ease this transition, employees are sometimes given the flexibility to determine how many hours they would like to work, and when they would like to work.

Phased Retirement

Phased retirement is designed for retiring employees who wish to continue working, but in a different capacity. Phased retirement schemes such as part-time work allow employees to remain in the workforce through a reduced and more flexible work schedule. Organisations can also redesign roles and job scopes for older employees.

This provides a win-win situation for both parties as employees can continue contributing to the organisation while the organisation retains the talents and expertise of its employees.

Project-Based Work

Project-based work is an arrangement in which someone is engaged to complete a specific project. The contract may be based on tasks, key performance indicators or duration.

Retirees Cover for Workers on Leave

An arrangement in which organisations engage their retired employees to return to work on an ad hoc or short-term basis when they require manpower. Such organisations usually provide continuous training opportunities and keep in contact with retirees after they leave the organisation.

Seasonal Work

Seasonal work is the hiring of employees during peak seasons to boost existing staff strength. It involves the hiring of part-time employees to work over a certain period of time to cover the work of existing employees (e.g. hiring more retail employees during festive seasons, or hiring employees to work on weekends to relieve existing employees).

Weekend Work

Weekend work is an arrangement that optimises part-timers who may only be available on weekends (e.g. homemakers or students). It is helpful for industries that have difficulty finding employees to work on weekends.

Implementing FWAs

Funding Support

Businesses can tap on the Productivity Solutions Grant where eligible to offset the costs of implementing FWAs (e.g. purchase of HR technology to implement flexible scheduling, engagement of consultancy services on job redesign to accommodate FWAs).
Being a Progressive Employer

Being a Progressive Employer

In addition to our 4-step implementation model, here are some progressive employment practices you can consider when implementing FWAs.

Some of these are based on the Tripartite Standard on Work-life Harmony, which you can adopt to be recognised as a progressive employer.

Appoint a Senior Manager to Champion FWAs

FWA Champion Responsibilities

The FWA Champion's Role

The FWA champion must be a member of your organisation's senior management (e.g., director or equivalent), and should:

  • Advocate the adoption of FWAs at the workplace.
  • Implement and review your organisation's FWA policies and processes.
  • Ensure employees are informed of available FWAs and the application process.
  • Ensure a system is in place for application and evaluation of FWA requests.
  • Ensure supervisors are properly trained to operationalise FWAs.
  • Plan and organise events and activities to educate employees on FWA usage.
  • Allocate and manage resources to support FWA implementation.

Develop a FWA policy

Implementing a FWA Policy

Implementing a FWA Policy

Implementing a FWA policy enables employers to implement FWAs in a clear, structured, and sustainable manner. An FWA policy provides useful information on available FWAs in the organisation, how employees can make FWA requests, and expectations for the usage of FWAs. Employers may include:

  • Types of FWAs offered.
  • Eligibility requirements for FWAs offered.
  • Expectations on the responsible use of FWAs. You may use your organisation's staff website, HR policy, circular, or memo to communicate this.
  • Process to request new FWAs.

Download this FWA policy template for employers and customise it to suit the needs of your organisation.

Train Supervisors on FWAs

FWA Training Programmes for Supervisors

FWA Training Programmes for Supervisors

FWA training programmes for supervisors can cover:

  • Features and benefits of common types of FWAs.
  • How to lead and manage flexible or virtual teams.
  • How to evaluate a FWA request fairly and objectively (e.g., company policies, processes, and procedures regarding FWAs).
  • How to establish suitable work arrangements (e.g., working hours, reporting arrangements) and clear, performance-based work targets or deliverables for the employee.
  • How to assess employee performance fairly, based on agreed deliverables.

Communicate Clear Guidelines on the Use of FWAs

Minimising Misunderstandings in FWAs

Minimising Misunderstandings and Misuse of FWAs

To minimise misunderstandings and misuse of FWAs, you should:

  • Establish and communicate the eligibility criteria and expected use of FWAs.
  • Set clear communication guidelines for both employees and supervisors (e.g., preferred communication channels and expected response time).
  • Monitor the effectiveness of FWAs by scheduling regular reviews of job performance between supervisors and employees.

FWA Implementation Resources

Resources for FWA Implementation

Enhanced Leave Schemes

These are additional leave schemes, which are over and above leave entitlements that are mandated by law. Enhanced leave schemes may be paid or unpaid.

Types of Enhanced Leave Schemes

These are some examples of additional leave schemes you may consider:

Marriage and Family Leave

Bereavement Leave

Paid leave that an employee is entitled to due to the death of a family or household member.

Compassionate Leave

Paid or unpaid leave for employees to deal with a crisis in the family (normally the death of a family member). Compassionate leave may also cover a serious or incapacitating illness of a family member.

Eldercare Sick Leave

Time-off for employees to take care of their elderly parents or family members when they are ill.

Extended Childcare Leave

Additional time-off, over and above statutory requirements, for employees with young children. This may be fully paid, part-paid or unpaid leave. The duration varies between organisations.

Extended Maternity Leave

Additional time-off, over and above statutory requirements, for female employees due to pregnancy and childbirth. This may be fully paid, part-paid or unpaid leave. The duration varies between organisations.

Family Care Leave

Time-off for employees to take care of their family members. It applies to a wider range of family members than childcare or eldercare leave (e.g. older children for whom childcare leave no longer applies, or an employee’s siblings or grandchildren). The range varies between organisations.

First Day of School Leave

Time-off for employees to bring their children back to school after holidays (e.g. on the first day of school). This may range from a few hours off to a full-day, so that parents can pick their children up after school as well.

Marriage Leave

Time-off for employees getting married. It is granted at the organisation’s discretion. It is usually fully paid leave, but may be part-paid or unpaid if the leave is granted for an extended period of time.

Personal Leave

Birthday Leave

A day off, over and above annual leave, that employees can take to celebrate their birthday. Some organisations allow employees to take this leave in the week before or after their actual birthday.

Emergency Leave

Paid or unpaid leave that an employee takes at the last minute due to unexpected emergencies.

Personal Day Off

A day off for employees to celebrate personal events (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries). This is commonly paid leave over and above annual leave entitlement.

Study/Exam Leave

Paid, part-paid or unpaid leave for employee to study for or take an examination.

Unrecorded Time Off for Family/Personal Matters

Paid time-off in-lieu for overtime work or working on a day off.

Voluntary Service Leave

Leave taken to spend time on community service or specific welfare organisations which may have been "adopted" by the organisation. This may be fully paid, partially paid or unpaid leave.

Extended Leave

Leave of Absence

A scheme that enables employees to take unpaid leave for an extended period. It may be used for a variety of circumstances, such as dependent care and continuing education.

Block Leave

Annual leave taken in a block of time (e.g. one week or more, to provide employees with a period of extended rest and refreshment). Sabbatical leave and career break leave are examples of block leave.

Career Break Leave

A block of leave that can range from a week to a few months. Career break leave may be fully paid, part-paid or unpaid (e.g. a long holiday to visit overseas relatives). The employee’s return is considered a continuation of employment.

Sabbatical Leave

A large block of leave taken for personal pursuits (e.g. few years for further studies on a full-time basis). Sabbatical leave may be fully paid, part-paid or unpaid

Some organisations provide employees with paid sabbatical leave after a period of service (e.g. one month after every five years of service). The employee’s return is considered a continuation of employment.

Learn about 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.

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.


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).


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.

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).


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.


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).