Mandatory mediation session is soon launched to address employers who dismiss their workers within unfair circumstances, if those laid off dispute the treatment, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Friday (Oct 20).
Mr Lim said that the Government, unions and employers are having discussion to expand the scope of the Employment Claims Act to cover mandatory mediation of non-salary-related disputes. According to him, the aim of the talks is to reach an agreement by next year, to give access for the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) to cover these issues.
Currently, the office only covers mandatory mediation for salary-related disputes, while it can actually facilitate voluntary mediation when either workers or employers bring up other types of disputes. Speaking to the reporters after a seminar on good dispute management practices, Mr Lim said that among particular concern is the issue of wrongful dismissals of professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs).
In addition, Mr Lim also gave a six-month update on TADM, which was set up in April to provide advice and conduct mediation for employment-related disputes. As of last month, the office has noted 4,600 salary dispute cases, as well as helped resolve 3,100 cases. Nine in ten of those employees managed to recover their unpaid salaries in full amount, totaling to about $5 million. Among those who sought help were 300 PMEs, who previously could only recover unpaid salaries through the Civil Courts, Straits Times reports.
In his speech in front of some 400 company officials at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong Eas, the minister said that TADM has no salary cap for workers who want to register. With its two offices in Jurong East and Bendemeer, it aims to help wider categories of employees in the future.
Formerly, only workers registered and covered under the Employment Act could take their salary claims to the Manpower Ministry, while managers and executives earning a basic salary of more than $4,500 a month had to go to the Civil Courts for such salary claims. The centre also helps employers and employees make resolution for a wider range of disputes beyond issues covered by employment laws.
The centre has held voluntary mediation for about 100 cases that are not covered by law, in which seven in ten cases were successfully settled by September. The most common cases included termination and performance appraisals. Besides resolving such disputes, the centre also helped 170 employees with employment disputes by various methods, such as matching them with job search help or financial assistance.