Public feedback wanted for tribunal handling salary-disputes

SINGAPORE - If you have anything to say about the upcoming Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) being set up by the Ministry of Manpower, you have four weeks to do so from today (Feb 25).

Plans to set up the ECT was announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2014 to streamline salary-related claims between employers and employees.

The current setup is handled by the Labour Court and only allows wage claims by employees drawing not more than $4,500 monthly, according to the Employment Act.

This means that professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) earning more than $4,500 monthly would have to file their claims with the civil courts, which can be lengthy and costly.

Public servants, domestic workers and seafarers are also not covered by the Employment Act and do not have access to the Labour Court.

The ECT, which seeks to cover these gaps, will be established as a tribunal under the State Courts, similar to the Small Claims Tribunal, and will take over the work of the current Labour Court in reviewing salary-related claims.

As with the Small Claims Tribunal, the ECT can only handle claims of up to $20,000.

Other workplace grievances such as unfair dismissal and discrimination will not be handled by the ECT, MOM said in its statement today.

Current stakeholders involved with the discussions include the Ministry of Law, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the State Courts and the tripartite partners – the National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation.

Details of the proposal can be found in the public consultation document on the REACH website, which will end on Mar 23.