FROM July 1, there will be more incentives to encourage firms to introduce quality health programmes as well as to implement flexible work arrangements (FWA) for older workers.

The $170 million WorkPro scheme - which aims to attract Singaporeans back to the workforce - will undergo enhancements, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor announced yesterday.

Among the enhancements will be incentives to encourage more employers to put in place FWAs, by tapping the Work-Life Grant. Employers will be able to receive $10,000 in funds to pilot new FWAs, while those who end up implementing them company-wide will receive an additional $10,000. With the new enhancements, firms can receive as much as $40,000 for launching new FWAs.

The Work-Life Grant will also cater to different tiers, so that employers who are new to such practices benefit as do those that have seen greater take-up of their FWAs.

At present, employers get up to $40,000 annually if 30 per cent of their workers have opted for FWAs. With the new improved scheme, firms which have 20 per cent of their employees opting for such work arrangements will get $25,000 in cash a year.

Employers can potentially receive up to $120,000 if they sustain or improve FWA utilisation rates over three years, the WDA said.

"I hope that more employers will take advantage of the assistance schemes available to better achieve our goal of helping our workers work for as long as they want to and can," said Dr Khor. "Beyond government support, companies should be motivated to tap into this growing pool of manpower and value older workers for their many intrinsic values like their experience and reliability."

In addition, the Workforce Development Agency and Health Promotion Board (HPB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday to launch a standardised Health and Wellness Programme, which will fall under the Age Management Grant.

As part of the programme, an appointed health provider will identify health-related workshops for mature workers within the company.

Other improvements to the WorkPro include the introduction of a Workplace Health Promotion Facilitator's Course, which will be a must for all firms adopting the Age Management Grant.

Firms will be required to send one employee for the course, which will focus on health management knowledge and techniques with the end goal of equipping them to conduct health assessments and improve workplace health programmes.

Since the launch of WorkPro, more than 1,000 firm have joined the scheme to improve their workplace practices, benefiting over 4,800 workers.