A new office set up to address workplace disputes successfully mediated in over 4,700 cases of salary disputes last year, Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo told Parliament on Tuesday (March 20).
She was responding to questions by Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who had asked about the outcomes of mediations handled by the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), which was set up in April last year, and the recourse available when both parties refuse to attend the mediation sessions.
Mediation is compulsory for salary-related disputes, which are governed under the Employment Claims Act. For non-salary disputes, voluntary mediation is offered.
According to Mrs Teo, TADM received some 6,000 salary-related claims between April and December last year, of which close to eight in 10 were “settled amicably” through mediation.
Twelve per cent of cases were not settled as the parties were unable to work out a settlement, with the disputes subsequently referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals for adjudication. The remaining 9 per cent were claims involving non-attendance at mediation.
Mrs Teo said that one-third of non-attendance cases were closed as the claimants themselves did not show up. For the remaining two-thirds, claimants could have their claims heard and adjudicated by the Employment Claims Tribunals, even if the respondents did not turn up for the hearing.
“Where there are good grounds, the Employment Claims Tribunals can and will make a payment order in favour of claimants for the full claimed amount. As a consequence of non-attendance, the Employment Claims Tribunals may also order respondents to pay costs to claimants,” said Mrs Teo.
To date, 92 per cent of employees with valid claims have managed to recover their salaries in full. Most of the remaining employees received “some form of partial payment”, the minister added.