Guide to help firms offer job sharing to employees

(From left) EY's associate director for finance Rachel Loke; assistant director for finance Tanya Sng; people advisory services senior consultant Rashida Mohamed Sadik; and people advisory services partner Panneer Selvam have benefited from job shari
(From left) EY's associate director for finance Rachel Loke; assistant director for finance Tanya Sng; people advisory services senior consultant Rashida Mohamed Sadik; and people advisory services partner Panneer Selvam have benefited from job sharing.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Such an arrangement to share work roles can boost staff productivity, reduce hiring costs

Job sharing can increase employee productivity and reduce hiring costs but most companies here may have no idea how to work out such an arrangement, in which two or more people share the responsibilities of one full-time job.

To help them understand how to use job sharing to offer staff more flexibility, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) and Singapore National Employers Federation (Snef) have introduced an implementation guide.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling said at the launch of the guide yesterday that besides being a boon for young parents, flexi-work arrangements (FWAs) like job sharing can also benefit millennials who value work-life balance, and older employees who choose to work at a lower intensity.

Only 2 per cent of companies here are offering job-sharing opportunities, but Ms Low said it is growing in popularity in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

Ms Low, who announced the job-sharing guide during a visit to the offices of professional services firm EY in One Raffles Quay, said FWAs can benefit both companies and workers by boosting talent retention and strengthening staff morale, while helping people achieve career and family goals.

She cited research by global organisations that shows job sharing raised employee productivity by up to 30 per cent and reduced hiring costs by up to 20 per cent.

"The availability of FWAs like job sharing will be even more important, especially in our ageing society where more Singaporeans will have to take on caregiving duties for the old while taking care of their young family members," she told reporters at the event.

The 24-page guide lists steps employers can take, such as ensuring workers and supervisors are clear about roles and responsibilities to achieve work outcomes, and fixing a regular time for staff on job sharing and their supervisors to check in with each other. It also includes a sample addendum which employers can tag on to employment contracts, setting out the reduced working hours and salary agreed on.

IMPORTANT IN AGEING SOCIETY

The availability of FWAs (flexi-work arrangements) like job sharing will be even more important, especially in our ageing society where more Singaporeans will have to take on caregiving duties for the old while taking care of their young family members.

SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR MANPOWER LOW YEN LING

The guide is available online on MOM's and Snef's websites, and will be distributed to employers.

Ms Low encouraged employers to tap the Work-Life Grant, which gives them up to $105,000 over two years when staff use FWAs.

Close to four in five of EY's 3,000 or so employees are on FWAs, four of whom are formally job sharing.

EY's managing partner for Asean and Singapore Max Loh said: "If you're really effective working four hours a day, as long as you drive that outcome, that's fine."

Assistant director for finance Tanya Sng, 38, has used job sharing to spend time with her parents, after they were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, as well as with her children aged six and 10. Her supervisor Rachel Loke, 37, associate director for finance, said the team benefits from the arrangement by gaining exposure to a wider job scope.

Mother of two Rashida Mohamed Sadik, a senior consultant for people advisory services at EY, started job sharing in July 2017 to help her daughter, who was then in primary school, with her studies. The 43-year-old now works a three-day week, with her pay and leave entitlement reduced accordingly.

Her team's partner Panneer Selvam, 43, said they discussed what Ms Rashida's responsibilities are, among other things.

"We just needed to think about all these things and put a framework to it," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'Guide to help firms offer job sharing to employees'. Print Edition | Subscribe