Employment Dispute Resolution in Singapore

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1. Introduction
a. Objectives
The objective of the report is to provide a better understanding of the roles of the different courts in settling employment disputes. At the end of the report, reader would be able to find alternatives in settling employment disputes too. b. Methods of Research

In this report, there will be real life case studies settled by different courts for settling disputes. These cases will help in illustrating the criteria for using the different courts. This report will also include internet research. 2. Causes of Disputes

Disputes are caused when both parties, namely the employer and employee, cannot come into an agreement over monetary issues such as wages, benefits and overtime pay. Other circumstance will be a violation of health safety standards or law that can be common law or related to employment. Court cases will arise when these disputes are not resolved by conciliation or mediation. 3. Acts Relating to Employment

There are two main acts that concern the procedures of settling disputes. They are the Employment Act (EA) and Industrial Relations Act (IRA). c. Employment Act
For employees covered by the Employment Act, employment disputes will only be referred to the Labour Court for adjudication if they are unable to be resolved amicably through conciliation. Conciliation is a process which involves negotiations between the parties, then coming up with a mutually agreed decision that is fair to the parties involved. However, certain conditions must be satisfied, that the claim must be on matters arising not earlier than one year from the date of lodging the claim, and if the employee concerned had already left employment, the claim must be lodged within six months from the date of leaving employment. For managers and executives who are not covered by the Employment Act, the Ministry will consider providing mediation service to help resolve employment disputes on breach of contract or retrenchment. Mediation, a non-adversarial process, involves a mediator who will facilitate the entire process by helping the parties involved to first identify issues, negotiate, then find a practical solution and settlement that all parties involved are mutually agreeable to and able to accept. The mediation process is voluntary and considered on a case-by-case basis. There are certain requirements that will apply, which includes that the managers and executives are earning $4500 and below, the claim is in respect of a matter which occurred within the period of one year before the date that the issue is reported, if the claim is for items related to their termination (e.g. notice, the issue must be lodged within six months from the date on which the employee has left employment), and when viable alternatives such as private amicable settlement with employer had been exhausted. However, if either party fails to respond to mediation or if no amicable settlement could be reached after mediation, the matter will then be pursued in the civil court. d. Industrial Relations Act

The Industrial Relations Act is passed in 1960 to provide a mean to settle employment disputes through collective bargaining which involves the union, conciliation and if unresolved, through arbitration held by the Industrial Arbitration court. This act aims to protect employees who are members of the union, allowing them to enjoy benefits covered under. Examples of union include the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union and Singapore Airlines Staff Union. This act limits the representation of employees who are in managerial and executive positions in certain areas. As defined in Section 30(1) of Industrial Relations Act, an executive employee is an employee who is employed in a managerial or executive position. They are not allowed to have representatives from the union to negotiate for retrenchment benefits upon retrenchment or resolving any dispute in the contract of employment. As this act is a...
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