abril 18 2024

Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests in Singapore


Other Author      Maria Chang, senior associate of PKWN

Singapore’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) announced and issued the new Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests (Guidelines) on 16 April 2024.

Effective from 1 December 2024, the Guidelines set out the minimum requirements that all employers in Singapore are required to abide by in relation to fairly considering formal requests from employees on flexible work arrangements (FWAs).

Recommendations are additionally provided on other good practices for employers to consider in relation to formal FWA requests.

I. What are FWAs?

FWAs are work arrangements where employers and employees mutually agree to a variation from the standard work arrangement and typically fall into one or more of these three broad categories:

(i) Flexi-Place (work location) – employees work flexibly from different work locations aside from their usual office location;

(ii) Flexi-Time (work timing / duration) – employees work flexibly at different timings with no changes to total work hours and workload; or

(iii) Flexi-Load (work scope) – employees work flexibly with different workloads and commensurate remuneration.

II. Summary of Process for Formal FWA Requests

Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests in Singapore - Summary of Process for Formal FWA Requests


Briefly, this diagram summarises the process for an employee to request a formal FWA request; and for an employer to consider the formal FWA request. 

III. Formal FWA Requests

If there are existing formal or informal practices on FWA that work well for both the employee and employer, there is no requirement for an employee to lodge a formal FWA request.

However, if an employer’s existing process for requesting FWAs is absent or lacking, then an employee may lodge a formal FWA request based on the Guidelines.

A. Who can make a formal FWA request?

All employees who have completed probation (where applicable) are entitled to lodge a formal FWA request under the Guidelines. Employers are free to consider FWA request from employees on probation if they wish.

B. How should a formal FWA request be made?

Employers should have a clear process for employees to submit formal FWA requests. By default, employees should following such process including any stipulated requirements (e.g., format, required information, etc.).

In the absence of any process or stipulated requirements, an employee must make a formal FWA request which satisfies the basic requirements below; failing which, the request will not be a formal request covered by the Guidelines:

(i) request must be in writing;

(ii) request must include the following information:

a. date of request;

b. FWA requested (including expected frequency and duration);

c. reason for request; and

d. requested start and end date (if relevant),

Alternatively, the employee may use the sample template in Annex A of the Guidelines.

IV. Guidelines for Employers when Considering Formal FWA Requests

Under the Guidelines, employers are required to:

(a) Discuss FWA requests in an open and constructive manner to come to a mutual agreement to best meet both organisational and employee needs. Disagreements should ideally be dealt with through the employer’s internal grievance handling procedure; and

(b) Consider FWA requests properly by focusing on factors related to the employee’s job and how the requested FWA may affect the business or the employee’s performance of the job.

Employers are entitled to reject a FWA request – but this should be based on reasonable business grounds and not personal bias against FWAs:

Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests in Singapore - reasonable business grounds

V. Communication of Decision

Employers are required to communicate their written decision to a formal FWA request within two months of receiving the request. Any clarifications and discussions on the request – along with the communication on approval or rejection (as the case may be) – should be within the two months.

If an employer rejects a request, the reason for rejection should be included in the written decision. Discussing alternatives with the employee is also encouraged.

VI. Key Principles for Proper Consideration

It is important to note that both employers and employees should act at all times based on the following key principles:

  • Responsibility: Employees should request and use FWAs responsibly and consider the impact on their workload and performance, as well as the team and any clients.
  • Reasonability: Employers should explore ways to accommodate FWA requests as far as reasonably practical (e.g., reviewing work process or re-assigning work across team members).
  • Evaluation on Case-by-Case Basis: Employers should consider each FWA request on a case-by-case basis and consider viability from the business point of view.


The Guidelines reflect the Singapore regulator’s keen awareness and recognition of the evolving business environment, along with the norms and expectations regarding FWAs, and are a welcomed step towards creating more inclusive and productive workplaces in Singapore.

Businesses should pay close attention to the Guidelines and commence development of the necessary processes to comply with them before 1 December 2024.

This article briefly introduces the newly-announced Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement Requests in Singapore in a summarised and engaging manner – and should not be construed as legal advice in any form or manner.

For assistance or more information on this matter, please feel free to contact Jennifer Chih and Maria Chang.

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