NTUC: 90% OF WORKING SINGAPOREANS ARE HAPPY

About nine in 10 working Singaporeans are happy overall, with most indicating that marriage and parenthood contribute "significantly" to one's happiness, according to a survey by the family development unit of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

The poll, conducted online by NTUC U Family in November last year, involved 5,255 of the unit's unionised members. Most of the respondents are married, below the age of 55 and work full-time.

Based on the survey, about nine in 10 of respondents who are married agreed that marriage contributes to their happiness. The same proportion of respondents who are parents said that having children make them happier.

Among those who are happy in their workplace, motivated in their current jobs and said that they are likely to stay on in their jobs, cited good relationships with co-workers and supervisors as the main reasons.

The survey findings show that more steps are needed to support working families in the area of the work-life harmony, NTUC U Family said in its press release. Ms Toh Hwee Tin, director of NTUC U Family, said that the labour movement is working with employers to create a family-friendly workplace environment with flexible work arrangements.

Such arrangements "should not be viewed as a workplace privilege (just for mothers)... After all, both working fathers and mothers want to put their best at work and home", added Ms Toh.

At a media briefing on Thursday, NTUC U Family also unveiled recommendations for family-friendly workplace practices. These include providing basic flexible work arrangements, family-care leave and access to family-supportive facilities, as well as career progression pathways for workers on flexible work arrangements.

NTUC U Family hopes that at least half of NTUC's unionised companies will provide such options for their staff by next year.

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Here is the full press release from NTUC U Family:

NTUC's family development unit, U Family, conducted a Happiness Poll to find out the state of happiness of working Singaporeans last November. Some 5,255 U Family members were polled, and the results shed some insights into the contributing factors to one's happiness level at their workplace.

Profiles of Respondents:

- 8 in 10 work full-time

- 8 in 10 married

- 2 in 3 females

- 6 in 10 have 2 or more children

- 8 in 10 aged below 55

- 6 in 10 earns between $2,000 & $6,000

2. When asked about overall happiness, a large majority - 87% of the respondents indicated they were happy, with 6 in 10 respondents indicating that they were most happy with their family life. 9 in 10 indicated that marriage and parenthood contributed significantly to one's happiness. (2012: 62% happier after marriage, 77% happier after becoming parents)

3. In terms of job and workplace satisfaction, 52.8% of 4669 working respondents indicated that they were motivated in their current job, are happy and are likely to stay on in their job.

From the poll results, it is found that positive relationships at the workplace play a key role in one's job and workplace satisfaction.

When asked on reasons for their happiness at their workplace, motivation at work and for staying on in their job, respondents picked relationship with co-workers and relationship with supervisor as the key reasons.

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4. 6 in 10 are happy with their career prospect and 7 in 10 are happy with their job responsibilities. When asked about what will attract them to a new workplace, it is discovered that working mums and dads have different workplace priorities.

5. While salary remained as the top pulling factor to both parents, working mums would prefer access to flexible work arrangement (44.3%), family friendly workplace (40.0%) culture and access to family leave scheme (38.2%) while working dads preferred workplace with career progression (43.8%), family friendly workplace culture (33.7%) and job security (33.5%).

Labour Movement introduces Family-Friendly Workplace Criteria

6. From the key findings, the Labour Movement is even more convinced that more work needs to be done to support working families in the area of work-life harmony, and helping them cope with responsibilities both at work and at home.

With that, the Labour Movement introduces a set of Family-friendly Workplace Criteria which is in line with key findings from recent polls as well as feedback gathered from interactions with members.

7. "A family-friendly workplace with flexible work arrangements should not be viewed as a mummy's workplace privilege. It is a working families' need.

The Labour Movement is working with progressive employers to create an environment where working parents can prioritise the responsibilities to be shared.

After all, both working fathers and working mothers want to put their best at work and at home," said Ms Toh Hwee Tin, Director of NTUC U Family.

8. The set of Family-Friendly Workplace criteria is to be used a yardstick for companies to have a sensing of where they are at in terms of family-friendly workplace practices.

Progressive companies should work towards having the listed criteria in place to help workers with care-giving responsibilities, better manage responsibilities both at home and at work.

This will also go a long way in improving workplace productivity. The set of Family-Friendly Workplace criteria as below:

Comprehensive

Basic

- Supportive supervisors and co-workers who are committed to develop all staff (including those with family responsibilities) by putting in place Career Progression Pathways for workers on Flexible Work Arrangement

- Provision of family support schemes/ facilities (eg. Childcare centre, lactation rooms etc)

- Access to family-care leave schemes (eg family care leave, eldercare leave or dependent care leave)

- Provision of Flexible Work Arrangement where employees are given greater scheduling freedom on how they fulfil their obligations in their position (eg flexible time, flexible workplace)

9. The set of criteria is also in line with U Family's key focus for the year. The family development unit will continue to work with the unionised companies to include flexible work arrangements and flexible leave schemes as part of the Collective Agreement. Through its Project Liquid Gold, U Family will also be working closely with various partners to put in place more family support facilities like lactation rooms at office premises.

Enhancement to Tripartite Guidelines on Family-Friendly Workplace Practices

10. At the same time, the Labour Movement would also like to call for an enhancement to the Tripartite Guidelines on Family-Friendly Workplace Practices, suggestions include:

- To be more inclusive, the guidelines should be expanded to include working caregivers with dependents other than young children.

- Include guidelines for provision of flexible family-care leave to cater to the working caregivers, and for lactation support at workplaces for breastfeeding mothers who had returned to work

- Provide a more comprehensive guideline on the options of flexible work arrangements including how to implement and manage employees on such arrangements.

11. "We strongly call upon the tripartite partners to look at enhancing the tripartitie guidelines on family-friendly workplace practices.

This would help greatly in reflecting the growing importance of such practices now and give companies an indication of the baseline to start with," concluded Ms Toh Hwee Tin.

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