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Mediation Could Become Mandatory for Singapore Workers

Monday, November, 6, 2017

Employees terminated from their jobs in Singapore who believe their termination was unfair might soon be required to attend mandatory mediation sessions to resolve the dispute.  According to a representative from the Manpower Ministry, unions, the government, and employees are currently involved in discussions that expand the scope of the Employment Claims Act that would make mediation mandatory for non-salary-related disputes. 


At the moment, employees who are salaried currently participate in mandatory mediation, and those who are non-salaried have the option of participating in voluntary mediation.   The office that handles the mediations has handled 4600 salary dispute cases, 3100 of which it helped to resolve.   The most important issue mediation addresses is wrongful termination.  The ministry has held voluntary mediation for about 100 cases not covered by law, of which seven in 10 were successfully settled by September, and helped 170 employees with employment disputes by linking them up with job search help or financial assistance, for example. 


According to the Manpower Ministry representative, "We felt that this is an area that is of greatest concern for PMEs who are affected by dismissal, and at the same time has the greatest impact on them”.


The Manpower Ministry in the past handled only employees covered under the Employment Act, and managers and executives who earned a basic salary of more than $4500 per month were forced to resolve their issues in the Civil Court system.  The most common disputes resolved by the Ministry involve wrongful termination of employees in the workforce.