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Ministry of Manpower and Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management release inaugural Employment Standards Report

Ministry of Manpower and Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management release inaugural Employment Standards Report

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM)[1] have released the inaugural Employment Standards Report, highlighting their joint efforts in improving workplace practices and resolving employment disputes.
  2. The report covers the employment standards situation from 1 April 2017, when TADM was established, to 31 December 2018.

    Key findings

    Low incidence of salary claims
  3. 14,757 employees have lodged salary claims with TADM from 1 April 2017 to 31 December 2018.
  4. Overall, there were 2.42 salary claims per 1,000 employees in 2018 and 2.49 salary claims per 1,000 employees in 2017.
  5. Among local employees, there were 1.43 salary claims per 1,000 employees in 2018, down from 1.55 salary claims per 1,000 employees in 2017. This was partly driven by the good business conditions in 2017 and 2018, in particular for the manufacturing and services sectors, which contributed to the bulk of local salary claims.
  6. Among foreign employees, there were 4.45 salary claims per 1,000 employees in 2018, about three times of that for local employees. Majority of the foreign claimants worked in the construction sector.

    Claims for basic salary constituted the majority of claims
  7. Amongst the claimants, the majority (local (70%) and foreign (90%)) lodged claims for payment of basic salary against their employers. Such salary claims arose mainly due to: (a) business failures; and (b) technical breaches because of employers’ lack of understanding of legal requirements such as errors in calculation or late payroll scheduling. For foreign employees, another contributing factor was employers’ illegal downward adjustments of employees’ salaries without their consent and without informing MOM.

    Effective and expeditious resolution of claims by TADM
  8. For salary claims lodged between 1 April 2017 and 31 December 2018, 85% were concluded within two months, with the remaining complex claims concluding between two and six months at TADM. 84% of claims were resolved at TADM, while the remaining were referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT) for adjudication.

    Full salary recovery for majority of claimants
  9. 88% of employees, whose employers agreed or were ordered to make payment, fully recovered their salaries at TADM or the ECT, with the recovered sum totalling $29 million.

    Improving workplace practices through education, rectification and enforcement

  10. To address employment issues, MOM adopts a three-pronged approach of education, rectification and enforcement.

    a) Education: MOM educates employees and employers on their rights and obligations through the Workright initiative. Non-Malaysian work permit holders were also briefed on their rights during the Settling-In Programme.

    b) Rectification: MOM requires employers with less severe breaches to attend corrective clinics on the Employment Act and rectify their lapses.

    c) Enforcement: Besides workplace inspections, MOM and TADM have introduced new operational concepts to increase effectiveness of enforcement. This includes salary payment declarations to proactively identifying salary arrears before they snowball and drawing adverse inferences against employers that do not comply with employment laws.

    Conclusion

  11. Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, General Manager, TADM said, “Businesses will continue to be affected by economic uncertainty. This is why it is important for both employer and employee to play their part to build trust and strengthen their relationship. When disputes occur, TADM is ready to help both parties by offering advice and mediation, so that they can reach an agreement and resolve their disputes amicably.”
  12. Ms Christine Loh, Director, Employment Standards Enforcement Department, MOM said, “Paying salary to employees correctly and in a timely manner is a basic responsibility of any employer. MOM will continue to raise awareness of good employment practices among employers and educate employees on their rights. MOM will also look at improving enforcement and dispute management mechanisms to address various workplace issues and raise Singapore’s employment standards.”
  13. The full Employment Standards Report can be downloaded from MOM’s and TADM’s websites.

FOOTNOTE

  1. TADM was formed by the tripartite partners (MOM, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers’ Federation) on 1 April 2017 to provide advice to and manage employment disputes between employees and employers.