New portal to settle employment disputes

From Monday, people involved in employment disputes will be able to file their claims online instead of having to go to the State Courts. They may also be able to resolve their disputes on the go, through new online negotiation and mediation services.

These are part of the new Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT) online filing module, said the State Courts in a statement yesterday.

The ECT can hear both statutory and contractual salary-related claims for up to $20,000, or up to $30,000 if the dispute has gone through mediation assisted by the unions.

The new online services can be accessed through the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS) with a SingPass or CorpPass. People not eligible for either of these can apply for a CJTS Pass.

Through the site, users can register settlement agreements, file dispute claims, submit documents, select a preferred court date and pay filing fees, for example.

Using the e-negotiation service, they can try to reach an amicable settlement without going to court. For example, when a settlement offer is made, the claimant will be notified to log on and consider the offer or make a counter offer.

If the parties agree to e-mediation, the ECT will schedule an online chat session with a court mediator.

The State Courts said the CJTS platform is secured and confidential.

If the parties are still unable to reach a settlement, the case will proceed to the case management and hearing stages of the employment claims process. Nearly 1,700 cases have been filed with the ECT since it opened on April 1 in 2017.

As of Nov 30 last year, 94 per cent had concluded, said the State Courts. Seven in 10 of the concluded cases were resolved at the case management conference stage, without the need for a full hearing.

The State Courts said three in 10 individuals who filed claims at the ECT were professionals, managers and executives. The top three types of claims were for non-payment or short-payment of salary or allowance (74 per cent), overtime payment (34 per cent) and salary in lieu of notice (31 per cent).

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2019, with the headline 'New portal to settle employment disputes'. Print Edition | Subscribe