Singapore Tripartism Forum

Ministry of ManpowerNational Trades Union CongressSingapore National Employers Federation
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Home > Tripartite Initiatives > Women-back-to-work




The Tripartite Workgroup on Enhancing Employment Choices for Women was formed in July 2007. It is chaired by Mdm Halimah Yacob, then-Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and comprises representatives from the unions, employers and the Government (see Annex for the composition).


The formation of the Tripartite Workgroup was one of the recommendations in the final report of the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers, which was released in May 2007. The Committee had recommended that the NTUC’s “Women Back to Work” Committee be elevated to a Tripartite Workgroup, led by NTUC, with participation and support of employers and the Government.  The Workgroup would consolidate the various efforts of the tripartite partners to facilitate and encourage women to return to the workforce.


Terms of Reference

The terms of reference of the Tripartite Workgroup on Enhancing Employment Choices for Women are to:


a. Formulate and recommend measures to help women remain in the workforce and to facilitate non-working women enter or return to the workforce.

b. Pilot good practices such as flexible and part-time work and other supportive arrangements with a view to enhancing employment choices for women.


Key Initiatives/ Milestones

One thrust of the Workgroup’s efforts to encourage more women to enter the workforce is through the promotion of part-time and flexible work arrangements.  In November 2007, the Flexi-Works! Scheme, a $3 million funding scheme, was launched to facilitate the recruitment of employees (aged 35 and above) on part-time or flexible work arrangements.  The grant can be used for costs incurred for job redesign, consultancy, recruitment, training, absentee payroll and equipment. 


Another thrust of the Workgroup’s efforts is to help prepare non-working women to enter the workforce and match them with suitable jobs.  The workgroup organised a  ’30 Minutes to Work’ Job Fair in collaboration with South West CDC, in November 2007, to match non-working women with jobs within the CDC. Jobs near homes help cut down on travelling time and costs, and allow the working-women with family-care responsibilities to return home quickly should they need to tend to emergencies at home. The workgroup also partnered the CDCs to organise a recruitment drive that focussed on part-time work and flexible work arrangements in March 2008.  Job preparation workshops for women looking to return to work were conducted as part of the job fairs.


The Workgroup targets to bring 2000 non-working women into the workforce through its efforts by end 2008.