New Employment Claims Tribunal to be established in Singapore

Author: PM editorial | Date: 24 Aug 2016

Tribunal will take over from Labour Court on all salary-related disputes

A new Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) is to be established in Singapore from April next year to deal with salary-related disputes.
 
The ECT act will provide an affordable way for workers to settle issues with their employer. Professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) earning more than SGD4,500 stand to be big winners, as the law currently states they must file potentially costly claims with the civil courts.
 
“The ECT will take over the Labour Court’s function of hearing statutory salary-related disputes on employee entitlements under the Employment Act, Retirement & Re-employment Act and the Child Development Co-Savings Act,” said Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, during a speech in parliament. “These include unpaid salary, overtime pay, salary in lieu of notice, employment assistance payment and maternity benefits.
 
“In addition, the ECT will hear contractual salary-related claims from employees. Such claims include payment of allowances, bonuses, commissions, salary in lieu of notice and retrenchment benefits, provided that these are expressed in monetary terms in the contract,” he said.
 
Mr Lim also explained that the ECT would have “built-in features to keep the process expeditious and affordable.”
 
There will be a limit of SGD30,000 on claims for cases with union involvement, and SGD20,000 for all other claims.
 
Despite the establishment of the ECT next year, Mr Lim was keen to point out that mediation without the involvement of the courts was always the preferred option. “All parties will be required to go through mediation conducted by Ministry of Manpower-approved mediators before their claims can be heard at the ECT. This is because our experience shows that mediation is an effective way of resolving salary-related claims amicably between the parties. More than 90 per cent of Labour Court claims were resolved at the mediation stage without having to go through formal hearings,” he said.