$13 Million recovered in employee claims in Singapore
Written by: Clare Chong
According to Tripartite Alliance Limited's (TAL) latest annual report, 93 percent of employees who made claims for salary arrears and compensation for wrongful dismissal fully recover the sum owed in the last financial year—totaling $13 million.
What is TAL's role?
TAL comprises Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council.
Employees who made such claims had their cases resolved at TADM and the Employment Claims Tribunals. While they must first undergo mediation with their employers at TADM, they will be referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals if mediation fails. As a result, TADM recovered approximately $16 million in wages owed in the last financial year, with about 91 percent of claims fully recovered.
TADM enhanced the short-term relief fund to support lower-wage employees when their employers cannot pay their salaries. The enhancement also has extended coverage from 20 percent to 50 percent of the labour force. The quantum of wage support has also risen to two months' wages from $1000, capped at $4,600.
More than 10,000 firms have adopted minimally one tripartite standard, benefitting more than 1 million workers. A higher number of companies also adopted the tripartite standard on flexible work arrangements since the announcement of the enhanced work-life grant. Close to 38,000 firms also joined BizSAFE, a capability-building programme to support workplace safety and health capabilities companies.
Managing challenges during the pandemic
TAL had made changes on how it engaged employers and employees and delivered services during the pandemic. Such changes include the conducting of mediation and advisory services through phone and online platforms. TAFEP also advised employers with retrenchments to conduct them in line with tripartite advisories and resolve conflicts related to retrenchment benefits. The chairman of TAL also said that they were finding new methods to engage employers and employees to ensure service continuity throughout this period.
What do you think of the new ways of mediating workplace disputes between employers and workers? Are there any limitations in using online platforms versus face-to-face interaction?