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Supporting Family-Friendly Workplaces

To promote fair and progressive workplace practices, the tripartite partners introduced the Tripartite Standards, which are a set of verifiable and actionable practices that employers can commit to implement at workplaces.

These Tripartite Standards allow employees to identify employers with progressive workplace practices. The full list of companies which have adopted the Tripartite Standards are available on TAFEP’s website. Companies can also be identified by the “Tripartite Standard” logos on mycareersfuture.gov.sg.

Employees or job-seekers can look out for employers who have voluntarily adopted the following to support employees in managing their work and family responsibilities:

1. Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements

This Standard encourages employers to provide flexible work arrangements. This would enable employees to better manage their career and family responsibilities, and help companies attract and retain employees.


Employers which adopt this Tripartite Standard agree to:

  • Offer flexible work arrangements to employees
  • Inform employees about the process to request for them
  • Communicate outcomes of applications for flexible work arrangements to employees in a timely manner, and discuss suitable alternatives if necessary.
  • Train supervisors to objectively evaluate employees’ applications for flexible work arrangements, and appraise employees on flexible work arrangements fairly based on work outcomes.

2. Tripartite Standard on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs


At times, parents may have greater caregiving needs such as in the cases of congenital conditions or sudden illness among infants, or in cases of multiple or preterm births. Also, employees’ immediate family members may have a medical episode and require more care. This Standard encourages employers to be more supportive during to employees during such stressful periods and provide additional unpaid leave to support employees during such stressful periods.

Employers which adopt this Tripartite Standard agree to:

  • Offer employees up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave per year if their child is below the age of 2 and:
    • is born (a) preterm, or (b) with congenital conditions, or (c) as part of multiple births; or
    • has any medical conditions subject to discussion with the employer.
  • Offer employees up to 2 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the caring of immediate family members who are hospitalised.

More information on the specifications and application process for the Tripartite Standards can be found at www.tafep.sg/tripartite-standards.

  • 1. Are employers who adopt the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) required to offer FWAs to all employees?

    The FWA(s) should be made available to all employees. If this is not possible (e.g. due to the nature of the job/ industry), employers should explain the reasons clearly to employees and where possible, discuss suitable alternatives (e.g. ad-hoc arrangements).

    Employers are also encouraged to offer a range of FWAs to better meet the different work-life needs of their employees.

  • 2. How should supervisors evaluate employees’ request for FWAs?

    Supervisors are expected to assess each FWA request objectively and fairly. Supervisors should take into account factors such as:

    - The needs of the job and suitability of the employee
    - The performance expectations and assessment (e.g. work deliverables and targets, and how the employee’s work performance would be assessed for the duration of the FWA)
    - The impact on the employee’s working conditions, including compensation, benefits and safety, if applicable.

     More information on evaluating FWA requests can be found in the Tripartite Advisory on Flexible Work Arrangements.

  • 3. [On the Tripartite Standard for Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs] What is considered a preterm birth, and what are the covered congenital conditions?

    Preterm. A preterm birth is defined as one that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy, in line with the World Health Organisation’s definition.1

    Congenital Conditions. ‘Birth defects/ congenital anomalies/ congenital disorders/ congenital malformations’ are defined as structural or functional anomalies that occur during intrauterine life and can be identified prenatally, at birth, or sometimes may be detected later in infancy, in line with the World Health Organisation’s definition.2

    Some examples include inborn errors of metabolism, congenital malformations of the nervous system (e.g. anencephaly), congenital malformations of eye or ear (E.g. congenital cataract), congenital malformations of the circulatory system (e.g. atrial septal defect), congenital malformations of the respiratory system (e.g. choanal atresia, bilateral), cleft lip and palate, congenital malformations of the digestive system (e.g. anorectal atresia/stenosis/fistula), congenital malformations of genital organs (e.g. hypospadias), congenital malformations of the urinary system (e.g. obstructive urinary defects), congenital malformations and deformations of musculoskeletal system (e.g. polydactyl) and chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Down Syndrome).

    1 Source: World Health Organisation (www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/)

    2 Source: World Health Organisation (www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs370/en/)

  • 4. I have some feedback on an organisation which has adopted the Tripartite Standards. Who can I contact?

    Please submit your feedback in writing to ts@tafep.sg.

    In the event TAFEP receives substantiated feedback related to a Tripartite Standard, TAFEP may contact the organisation to clarify that it meets the specifications of the Tripartite Standard.

Last Updated : 11 Oct 2020