INDUSTRIAL automation firm Rockwell's office at Jurong West is empty by noon every Friday during the school holiday months of June, November and December.

Employees get the rest of the day off to spend time with their children, and those without kids also get to leave early so they can meet family and friends.

Human resource director Dennis Ng said giving workers time off to better manage family commitments is part of the company's "Family Friendly Fridays" policy.

It was introduced when Rockwell Automation set up its Asia-Pacific business centre in Singapore in 2006. The company first allowed its 400 staff to knock off at 4.30pm every Friday.

It decided to take this further four years ago - everyone would get half a day off on Fridays during the school vacation months. Employees put in a few extra hours from Monday to Thursday.

Mr Ng said directors and the CEO make it a point to leave early on Fridays. "If the bosses don't leave early, no one will do it."

Employees say they are loyal to the firm because of the efforts to help them balance work and life.

Mr Ng said the yearly staff attrition rate averages about 5 per cent, compared to 12 to 18 per cent in the engineering sector.

One employee who benefits from the flexibility is engineer Ria Anggriani, 29, who has a seven-month-old daughter.

"Sometimes I will take another half day off on Friday so I can spend the whole day with my baby. I feel happier and my boss and colleagues are supportive because they know I am on track in meeting my deadlines."

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HAPPY EMPLOYEE

Sometimes I will take another half day off on Friday so I can spend the whole day with my baby. I feel happier and my boss and colleagues are supportive because they know I am on track in meeting my deadlines.

- Engineer Ria Anggriani, 29, who has a seven-month-old daughter and benefits from the flexibility offered by Rockwell