Feedback sought on a tribunal to hear salary claims

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

The ECT will be a tribunal under the State Courts, similar to the Small Claims Tribunal, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday, as it called for public feedback on the proposed tribunal.

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

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

It will not cover public servants, domestic workers and seafarers when it is first set up as they have alternative avenues. Once operations stabilise, it may extend adjudication services to such workers.

It will also not hear other workplace grievances such as unfair dismissal and discrimination.

"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 (other) claims by coming to MOM if they are covered under the Employment Act, or through the civil courts."

MOM proposes that the 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. 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.

The public consultation document can be found on Reach website Feedback can be sent from now until 6pm on March 23.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'Feedback sought on a tribunal to hear salary claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe