Family-first Work Policies Fare Better in Asia

Family-first Work Policies Fare Better in Asia

October 24, 2019

According to the latest TMF Group’s latest Global Business Complexity Index for the HR and Payroll sector, Singapore’s family-first work policies continue to contribute significantly to the attractiveness of its business environment.

The Global Business Complexity Index (HR and Payroll) analyses key HR and payroll practices and trends across 76 jurisdictions worldwide. The latest report is the second edition of a new series of three studies by TMF Group, which claims to be developed based on statistically-weighted data and qualitative research by local market experts globally.

Most jurisdictions globally, require employers to offer their workforce a set of ‘traditional’ benefits, such as maternity leave and paid vacation time. The report shows that Singapore goes further, in its range of family-first work policies. The city-state is one of just 33% of jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific to offer shared parental leave, and it also provides for generous maternity and paternity leave benefits, child-care subsidies and flexi-work arrangements.

Additionally, the report claims that the Asia-Pacific region fared better than its counterparts when it comes to the ease of hiring. When grading the complexity of hiring overseas staff, the Asia-Pacific region scored 6.2, meaning the jurisdiction is simpler than the global average of 6.4 in the level of complexity of hiring overseas staff.

According to TMF Group’s Managing Director for Singapore Kim Leng Siaw, acknowledging that a highly-educated local workforce will also continue to be an attractive prospect for investors, the report underscores the importance for jurisdictions to look both externally and internally in order to build a robust workforce.

“In Singapore, efforts to nurture a skilled workforce, provide sound education and support continuous upskilling have contributed to the nation’s status as a business epicenter in the heart of the region. Businesses operating in Singapore are more easily able to harness talent originating from multiple jurisdictions, and this tends to contribute to better work performance and business outcomes,” says Kim.

The Asia-Pacific region also scored 4.2 for hiring subcontractors, making it the least complex of the reported three regions for hiring subcontractors. The global average is 4.5. This means that businesses in the region may hire short-term contract workers with greater ease and agility in response to changing business demands. However, with the growth of the ‘gig economy’, the report also highlighted that governments in the region are increasingly taking the responsibility to protect workers from exploitation and income inequality.

In Singapore, the tripartite workgroup has put forth recommendations to protect subcontractors, such as requiring businesses to use written contracts for short-term workers, having more government agencies involved in mediating payment-related disputes, and enforcing contributions into the national saving scheme, the Central Provident Fund.

“As businesses expand and build their workforce in new jurisdictions, they must be able to swiftly comply with the evolving employment legislation in these territories. HR and payroll services are no longer just about pay cheques, and managers must learn to redefine traditional HR models to meet the needs of a nimble, diverse and multigenerational workforce,” says Kim.

(Ed. The complete report is free here.  Please note the assessment for each criteria is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least complex and 10 being the most complex. TMF Group provides fiduciary, company secretarial, accounting and tax and HR and payroll services worldwide; it claims to be a service provider for over 60% of the Fortune Global 500 and FTSE 100.)

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