HPB increases Workplace Health Grant by 25%

PHOTO: HPB increases Workplace Health Grant by 25%

SINGAPORE - The Health Promotion Board (HPB) and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) are aiming for 80 per cent of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to have Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) programmes by 2015.

Currently, the Workplace Health Prevalence Survey shows that about 40 per cent of SMEs have WHP programmes.

To encourage employers to implement WHP initiatives, HPB will be increasing its WHP Grant by 25 per cent, from $12,000 to $15,000.

"Many SMEs are increasingly aware of the importance of workplace welfare activities to help their staff achieve better health," said Mr Eugene The, General Manager of Enterprise Development Centre at ASME.

"Most employers, however, are hampered by constraints, such as costs," he acknowledged.

The needs of at-risk employees are now covered by the grant as well.

The grant's scope has been broadened to include employees who are struggling with obesity, are trying to quit smoking, or suffer from depression or chronic diseases, said Mr Ang Hak Seng, Chief Executive Officer of HPB.

Mr Ang added that HPB will be introducing a comprehensive workplace mental well-being programme called "Working Minds," which highlights the importance of a supportive workplace environment for corporate well-being.

HPB will also be assisting ASME to develop innovative solutions in planning and executing WHP programmes.

This consists of HPB conducting visits to SMEs to evaluate and work with companies to roll out relevant WHP programmes.

HPB will be setting aside $200,000 in 2012 for a WHP Capability Development Grant for companies to hire consultants and practitioners to help develop and implement WHP programmes.

Lastly, HPB will assist in the sharing of services and suppliers among SMEs. This will help create an aggregate demand and favourable economies of scale.

One such initiative that has been made possible by this is the Talk2Us counselling helpline. The helpline, set up to help distressed employers and employees, was set up via a tripartite collaboration between HPB, ASME and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

These points of agreement were put down in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed at the National Conference on Workplace Health Promotion 2011, held today and witnessed by Guest-of-Honour Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for Health.