Public has four weeks to give feedback on proposed Employment Claims Tribunal

Workers of all salary levels will have an avenue to bring up salary-related employment claims at the proposed Employment Claims Tribunal.
Workers of all salary levels will have an avenue to bring up salary-related employment claims at the proposed Employment Claims Tribunal.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Workers of all salary levels will have an avenue to bring up salary-related employment claims at the proposed Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) which is set to be rolled out in the second half of this year.

It will be a tribunal under the State Courts, similar to the Small Claims Tribunal, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Thursday, in announcing a call for public feedback on the proposed tribunal.

It will take over the work of the current Labour Courtin adjudicating salary-related claims.

First proposed two years ago, the ECT will cover workers who are not covered by the Employment Act, including professionals, managers and executives earning more than $4,500 a month, who currently have to file claims with the civil courts.

But it will not cover public servants, domestic workers and seafarers when it is first set up, as they have alternative avenues to bring up employment disputes. After operations have stabilised, it may then extend its adjudication services to cover these groups of workers.

It will also not hear issues related to other workplace grievances such as unfair dismissal and discrimination, "as the ECT is meant to be an expeditious mechanism to deal with salary-related claims", the MOM said in its public consultation document.

"Employees will continue to be able to pursue such claims by coming to MOM if they are covered under theEmployment Act, or through the civil courts," it added.

The ministry proposes that the claim limit per claim be set at $20,000, with a higher claims cap of $30,000 for people who go through the Tripartite Mediation Framework or MOM conciliation under the Industrial Relations Framework.

People filing claims at the tribunal will first have to go through a mediation process with the MOM or MOM-approved mediators before their claims will be heard.

Claims must be filed for mediation within one year of the date on which the claim arises, or within six months of the end of employment if the claimant no longer works for the employer.

The public consultation document can be found on the website of Government feedback unit Reach at www.reach.gov.sg. The public can send their feedback with proper identification to mom_consultations@mom.gov.sg from now until 6pm on March 23.