Singapore

$16 million recovered in wrongful dismissal, owed salary cases

About 91% had cases resolved from last April to this March with help from Tripartite Alliance Limited

Employees who made claims for owed salaries or wrongful dismissal between April last year and March this year managed to recover about $16 million in all from their employers.

About 91 per cent of the 6,537 employees who made claims had their cases fully resolved at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) and the Employment Claims Tribunals. They received the full sums of salaries owed or compensation.

The Tripartite Alliance Limited (TAL) revealed this yesterday in its annual report for the year ended March 31 this year.

In the previous financial year, TADM recovered around $15 million in salaries owed to employees, with about 90 per cent of those who filed claims fully recovering their salaries.

TAL was set up by the Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation in 2016.

It oversees TADM, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council.

In April last year, the Employment Act and Employment Claims Act were amended to allow all employees, including those earning more than $4,500 a month, to file claims against employers for wrongful dismissal, extending protection to more managers and executives.

Workers who wish to make a wrongful dismissal claim must first undergo mediation with their employers at TADM. If this is unsuccessful, they will be referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals.

Since the changes, 1,958 employees had sought advice from TADM on suspected wrongful dismissal between April last year and March this year, said TAL yesterday.

MEDIATION

Of these, 831 employees were offered mediation services, and most of them reached mutually acceptable solutions with their employers without having to escalate the dispute for adjudication at the Employment Claims Tribunals.

Most of the dismissal claims lodged involved rank-and-file employees who were dismissed without notice or who disputed the reasons for dismissal. These cases were resolved through mediation with TADM's help, said TAL.

Cases involving workers who were terminated in accordance with their employment contracts were referred to Employment Claims Tribunals for adjudication without mediation.

Meanwhile, there was a 42 per cent increase in workplace discrimination or harassment complaints to Tafep, with one in four complaints related to fair consideration for Singaporeans in hiring practices.

One in 10 complaints was related to age discrimination and one in 13 was related to gender discrimination.

TAL said the increase in complaints was due to the expanded scope of issues handled by Tafep, which includes workplace harassment and unfair contractual terms including liquidated damages and restraint of trade.

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Employment