Employment Claims Tribunal handled 1,190 cases in first year of operations

Posted by on April 25, 2018 in Articles, Facts, research, analysis, News, News Flash

Marking the first anniversary of the new system for salary disputes, the State Courts issued a media statement on 24 April 2018 providing some statistics about the cases they handled during the first twelve months.

From 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT), a unit within the State Courts, saw 1,190 employment claims filed with them. The most common types of cases involved non-payment or short-payment of salaries and/or allowances (78%) and about overtime pay (37%). These are the typical salary-related cases also seen by Transient Workers Count Too among foreign workers.

The statement revealed that 80% of the filed cases had been concluded as at 31 March 2018, and that the “majority of statutory and contractual salary-related claims were concluded within six months from the date of filing.”

It should be noted however, that the “date of filing” mentioned in the statement may refer to filing at the ECT, rather than the date a complaint was first lodged at the Ministry of Manpower. If we add in an estimated duration of the earlier phases at MOM and TADM (explained below), it may not be as rosy as “within six months”.

The journey taken by a salary claim can roughly be divided into four parts:

  1.  Lodging the claim at MOM, during which MOM officers collect some basic facts of the claim. After that, the case is referred to:
  2.  Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) which mediates between employer and employee(s) and tries to arrive at an amicable settlement. If that is not successful, then the case is filed with:
  3.  ECT, which adjudicates the matter and issues an order, after which,
  4.  Enforcement phase which, for many workers, is another problem altogether causing further delay.

The State Courts’ statement explained that during the first year of operation, the ECT issued 732 Money Orders (i.e. judicial orders for one party to pay another) while “other cases were either dismissed or withdrawn.” Presumably, these numbers were in relation to the 80% of cases that had been concluded by 31 March 2018.

One interesting detail was that three in four cases were settled at the case management conference stage, without moving into full hearings. Should orders be issued in these cases, they would be “by consent” of the parties.

The Straits Times also carried a story based on this statement from the State Courts. It can be found here.

 

 

TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our
means.

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