MP Louis Ng reiterates call for law protecting right to work from home

·2-min read
Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng in Parliament on 15 October, 2020. (Parliament screengrab)
Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng in Parliament on 15 October, 2020. (Parliament screengrab)

SINGAPORE — Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng has reiterated his call to legislate the right to work from home for all employees in Singapore.

“Germany is planning to make working from home a legal right. We should as well,” said Ng in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday (20 October) night.

Ng cited a survey where nine of 10 respondents in Singapore said they wished to continue working from home. Conducted in May, the survey polled 9,000 employees from some 90 companies here.

“We should respond positively and legislate the right to work from home for all employees, and require employers who reject the request to provide a specific business-related reason,” said Ng.

Being able to work from home will benefit all employees whether they are married or single, according to Ng. Employees will enjoy better work-life balance, more freedom, and spend less time commuting, he added.

Ng, and fellow MP He Ting Ru, had spoken at length about the issue in Parliament last week, highlighting that working from home can close the gap for mothers who have to toggle between caregiving and child care responsibilities, among others.

“We are now at a 50 per cent work-from-home policy and I urge the government not to reduce this any further but instead take a step forward and ensure that work from home truly becomes the new normal,” he said then.

In a podcast interview with Yahoo News Singapore, Ng pointed out that working from home allows Singaporeans to push against gender stereotypes.

“It’s given us the chance to tackle this gender stereotype that it’s the woman who that’s supposed to be looking after the kids. It’s given a lot of men and fathers a chance to be at home, to help out. Obviously, Covid is a huge negative but there are some positives that came out of it,” he had said.

Employers here have been urged to keep working at home as the default arrangement for months, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce in Singapore, had said on several occasions that working from home should be embraced as “the new norm”, urging employers and managers to “adjust their mindsets”.

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