$10,000 grant for bosses who try flexi-work schemes

$170m WorkPro programme offers more incentives

More incentives for employers to try out flexible work arrangements and implement health programmes for workers will be rolled out from July 1.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health Amy Khor yesterday announced enhancements to the $170 million WorkPro scheme, which funds companies so that they can help groups such as older workers and mothers get back to work.

Dr Khor said the enhancements are to entice companies and workers to use the existing resources.

"We want to encourage take-up and utilisation of these flexible work arrangements among the workers... so they can better meet their work responsibilities as well as personal needs," she said on the sidelines of a seminar on managing an ageing workforce.

"In this way, you can attract and retain more workers."

Take-up was slow when the scheme was launched in March last year. But Dr Khor said more than 1,000 companies have now taken advantage of the grants to help more than 4,800 workers.

Some of the changes were made after employers said they could not benefit from the part of the existing Work-Life Grant that provides up to $40,000 as a reimbursement for spending on flexi-work arrangements, as they did not incur any expenditure.

Now, companies can receive $10,000 just to try out flexi-work arrangements, and another $10,000 if they implement them throughout the workplace.

The maximum funding amount will remain at $40,000. It can be used to reimburse expenses such as creating infrastructure for a virtual private network so employees can work from home.

Companies applying for the Age Management Grant must have staff attend a new Workplace Health Promotion Facilitator course.

Welcoming the changes, Mr Mok Keng Houng, business manager of wholesale florist Ji Mei Flower, said his company wants to help workers stay healthy. "Mature workers have a lot of experience and know the business well, so retaining them is good for our business continuity," he said.

Mr Mok's company was one of six recognised for being age-friendly at the event at Raffles City Convention Centre, where the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers also launched a campaign to reinforce a positive view of older workers' contributions.

Tea lady Chan Lai Peng, 58, would like to have flexi-work arrangements, as her full-day job leaves her very tired when she gets home. "My husband grumbles a bit but helps me with the housework," she said. "For people with household commitments, flexible work would mean we can take care of both sides."