A recent survey of 500 employees conducted by recruitment firm Robert Half showed that 36% want more annual leave, while 32% chose more flexible working hours as their top choice.
But, employers seem to think otherwise. Out of 150 employers polled, 54% said their employees want more flexible hours as compared to the 18% who said that employees want more annual leave. (See table below)
(Table: Robert Half)
Robert Half managing director Stella Tang said that while employees would like more days off, very few companies will increase the number of annual leave. “It is a wish that is unlikely to come true,” she said.
She added that flexible work arrangements (FWAs) are a more realistic demand that employers have the power to provide.
In fact, most employers have already embarked on providing employees more FWAs. in 2014, almost 1 in 2 companies provided at least 1 formal FWA up from 38% in 2011. Part-time work, staggered hours and formal tele-working are the more common forms of FWAs.
The government also has some initiatives to encourage companies to offer FWAs. The Work-Life Grant is just one grant that companies can tap on to offer FWAs for employees.
The labour movement also has a funding programme known as the U Flex Family-Friendly Grant to support the implementation or enhancement of Family Care Leave and Family Support Scheme.
Singapore faces a tightening labour market and human resource is the only natural resource. Hence, it has to rely very much on human talent.
At a FWAs Conference and exhibition in 2014, NTUC Assistant Secretary General Cham Hui Fong said: “For Singapore to have a sustainable flow of human talent, it is important for that paradigm shift in allowing and enabling work to be done in different ways. This will attract diverse talents and allow companies to be competitive globally.”
More annual leave might be a nice thing to have, but perhaps it may be more reasonable to ask for FWAs. There’s a higher chance we might get it anyway.