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Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower & Senior Minister of State, National Development, to Parliamentary Question on Help for PMEs Who Were Unfairly Dismissed

Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower what support can the Government offer to PMEs who are unfairly dismissed but have no financial means to initiate a civil lawsuit against their errant employers.

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin:

  1. PMEs who do not have the financial means to initiate a civil lawsuit against their employers for alleged unfair dismissal can approach the Legal Aid Bureau to apply for legal assistance. A Singapore citizen or permanent resident who satisfies a Means Test which looks at his total disposable capital and annual income will be eligible for legal aid at the Legal Aid Bureau1.
  2. Additionally, PMEs who are union members working in unionised companies and are eligible for representation by unions under the Industrial Relations Act, can currently seek redress and appeal to the Minister for Manpower for reinstatement to their former employment, if they feel that they had been unfairly dismissed.
  3. In view of the changing composition of workforce, we also intend to extend general protection under the Employment Act to PMEs earning up to $4,500. My Ministry will be tabling the Employment Amendment Bill later this year. This means that when the amendments come into effect, these PMEs will be protected against unfair dismissal.
  4. To give employers some flexibility, we will set a qualifying service period of one year for these PMEs before they are eligible to seek redress. This is a reasonable period for employers to assess the suitability of PMEs.

1 Foreigners residing in Singapore can approach the Law Society’s Pro Bono Services Office.