Workers who complained against employers can refile under new scheme?

2 new offices to help workers resolve disputes

I refer to the article “Two new offices to help workers resolve disputes” (Straits Times, Apr 1).

It states that “More workers can receive help in resolving employment-related disputes like owed wages from today, as two offices that tackle such issues begin operations.

The Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) will conduct mediation for salary-related claims. Should mediation fail, the claims will be heard by the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT).

The two offices will cover about 90 per cent of the 3.67 million people in the workforce.

Previously, only workers covered under the Employment Act could take their salary claims to the Manpower Ministry (MOM). Managers and executives earning a basic salary of more than $4,500 a month were excluded, and had to take their cases to the civil courts.

There is no salary cap on workers seeking help from the TADM, which can also provide advice and mediation for other employment issues not covered by employment laws.

Claims must be filed within a year of a dispute, or within six months of an employee leaving a company.

MOM said more than nine in 10 salary claims are currently resolved through mediation by the ministry or via rulings by the Labour Court.

“Cheaper, better, faster way” to resolve disputes

Launching the initiative yesterday at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability (DNI), Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said it will provide a “cheaper, better, faster way” to resolve disputes compared with going to the civil courts.

Both TADM and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) will now come under a new company called Tripartite Alliance Limited, whose board is chaired by former Singapore National Employers Federation (Snef) president Stephen Lee.

Through this company, the Government, unions and employers will pool resources and expertise to better help workers, said Mr Lim.

In starting the company, the three sides have put their money where their mouth is and showed their commitment to working together, he added.”

412 complaints in 2016

According to TAFEP’s Annual Review 2016 – there were “219 complaints received on average yearly from 2007 to 2016” … for 2016, the number of complaints was 412, and there were 1,145 enquiries and 1,075 feedback.

Can’t find the outcomes of the complaints?

I could not find any information in the 21 page report on how many of the 412 complaints in 2016, or the 213 complaints in 2015 – were resolved or what were the outcomes?

In this regard, according to the article “More PMEs may get help in disputes with employers” (Straits Times, Apr 30, 2014) –

Only 12 cases heard in 3 years?

“Mr Tan said the panel has resolved many of the disputes it handled in the past three years. It has heard 12 cases since it was set up, the MOM told The Straits Times”

– So, only 12 cases were heard in the past 3 years since it was set up!

475 complaints – no outcomes’ statistics?

According to the Tripartite’s annual review 2013 – “Overall, fair opportunities for Singaporeans continued to be the top issue handled by TAFEP, accounting for more than half of the complaints, followed by issues of age (1 in 5) and language/race (1 in 6).

There were 475 complaints received, involving 295 employers.”

– Why was there no mention as to what were the outcomes or progress of the 475 complaints it received?

Hong Kong – 67% success rate for complaints?

In comparison, the Equal Opportunities Commission in Hong Kong had over 14,680 enquiries answered, 6,100 complaints handled, HK$$4,638,523 secured in compensation for complainants, and a “Successful conciliation rate reached” of 67 per cent, in the last year.

Salary claims “compulsory”, but other disputes “voluntary”?

As to “Mediation for salary claims is compulsory, and voluntary for other types of disputes” – why is it “voluntary for other types of disputes”?

Voluntary only, guidelines only?

By now, you may have come to the realisation as I have – that TAFEP is mainly just guidelines for employers.

It has no powers, as I understand it to take any punitive action against errant employers.

In other words, TAFEP in essence relies on the goodwill of employers to follow its guidelines.

Workers who complained in the last 2 years can now refile?

I would also like to applaud the announcement that workers who made complaints in the last two years can now refile their complaints and get compensation under the new scheme announced today.

This entry was posted in Labour, Opinion.