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EMPLOYMENT CLAIMS TRIBUNALS
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The Employment Claims Tribunals ("ECT") was established under the Employment Claims Act 2016 (Act 21 of 2016) ("Employment Claims Act"). The ECT provides employees and employers with a speedy and low-cost forum to resolve their salary-related disputes.
To bring a claim before the ECT, parties must first register their claims at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) (www.tadm.sg) for mediation. Mediation at TADM is compulsory. Only disputes which remain unresolved after mediation at TADM may be referred to the ECT.
Cases which are successfully mediated at TADM may result in a signed settlement agreement between the parties. Such a settlement agreement may be registered in the District Court within 4 weeks from the date the settlement agreement is signed, and the registered settlement agreement would be enforceable as a Court Order.
1. What types of claims can be heard at the ECT?
The ECT hears:
Statutory salary-related claims by all employees covered under the Employment Act (EA), Retirement & Re-employment Act (RRA) and Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA).
Contractual salary-related claims by all employees, except domestic workers, public servants (i.e., all employees of the Government), and seafarers.
Claims for salary in lieu of notice of termination by all employers
Examples of claims which can be heard at the ECT
Non-payment or short-payment of salary
Non-payment or short-payment for overtime work requested by employer
Non-payment or short-payment of salary for work on rest days
Unauthorised salary deductions
Public Holiday pay
Salary in lieu of annual leave / Salary in lieu of notice
Sick leave salary
Reimbursement of medical consultation fees
Payment of maternity leave in the case of retrenchment
Non-payment of maternity benefit under Part III of the CDCA
Employment Assistance Payment under Part IV of the RRA
Retrenchment benefits stated in contract
Bonus / Annual Wage Supplement stated in contract
Commissions stated in contract
Reimbursement of expenses stated in contract
Salary in lieu of notice
Ex-gratia payment stated in contract
Salary in lieu of notice
*A contract can be entered into in written or oral
form, and can be expressed or implied.
For the full list of claims that the ECT can hear, please refer to the First and Second Schedule to the Employment Claims Act.
A claim may only be filed against a Respondent located in Singapore. If the Respondent is residing overseas (for individuals), or the Respondent's registered office or place of business is overseas (for non-individuals), the claim cannot be heard by the ECT.
2. What are the claim limits at the ECT?
Only claims not exceeding S$20,000 may be heard by the ECT.
For employees who go through the Tripartite Mediation Framework or mediation assisted by their unions recognised under the Industrial Relations Act, the claim limit is S$30,000.
However, if your claim exceeds the applicable limit and you nonetheless wish for ECT to hear your claim, you may abandon the excess amount.
3. When should I file a claim?
As soon as possible after your claim arises, you should submit a mediation request to TADM. The table below shows the latest dates by which you may submit your mediation request at TADM.
You need to submit your claim
Within 6 months from the date you left the job.
Still in employment
Within 1 year from the date of the dispute.
Note: If you are a workman wishing to recover salary from a principal, contractor or subcontractor under section 65 of the Employment Act, the mediation request must be submitted within 60 days after the date on which the salary became due for payment. The Commissioner may, in his discretion, extend the time for filing the mediation request.
If your claim cannot be settled through mediation at TADM, and you have obtained a Claim Referral Certificate from the TADM mediator, you must file a claim with the ECT within 4 weeks after the date the Claim Referral Certificate was issued. For example, if you are issued a Claim Referral Certificate on 4 April 2017, the last day to file your claim is on 2 May 2017.
4. How much would it cost to file a claim at the ECT?
The cost for filing a Claim / Defence / Counter-Claim at the ECT are as follows:
Claimant's filing fee
Respondent's filing fee
S$10,000* and below
More than S$10,000*
A list of the fees payable for ECT claims can be found here at the "Court Fees" page.
5. Where do I file an ECT claim?
You can file an ECT claim at the Employment Claims Registry at the Community Justice and Tribunals Division, which is located at Level 1 of the State Courts building, 1 Havelock Square, 059724. The operating hours are as follows:
Level 1, State Courts Building
Mondays – Thursdays
8.30 am – 1.00 pm
2.00 pm – 6.00 pm
9.00 am – 12.00 pm
2.00 pm – 5.00 pm
2.00 pm – 5.30 pm
2.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays
Information on the steps to file an ECT claim can be found here at 'Filing a claim at the ECT'.
6. How can I bring my Claim to the attention of the party I am claiming against?
Documents relating to the claim should be served on the other party in the following ways:
(For individuals) Delivering the documents to the other party at his/her last known place of residence
(For non-individuals, e.g., companies) Delivering the documents to any director, manager, or officer of the other party at its registered office, or principal place of business
(For individuals) Sending the documents by registered post to the party's last known place of residence or business, in an envelope addressed to the person
(For non-individuals, e.g., companies) Sending the documents by registered post to the party's registered office or principal place of business
By any means (including by facsimile transmission or electronic mail) as directed by the ECT
Please note that a claim or summons cannot be served on any person outside of Singapore. If the other party is residing overseas (for individuals), or the respondent's registered office or place of business is overseas (for non-individuals), you should seek your own legal advice as to your next course of action.
7. Can another person present the case on my behalf at the ECT?
A Claimant or Respondent must present his or her own case at the ECT. Lawyers are not allowed to represent any party in the ECT at all times.
A Claimant or Respondent may be represented by another person in only the following situations and where an application has been made to the ECT:
Who can represent the party?
The party is a body corporate
An officer or a full-time employee of the body corporate
The party is a partnership
A partner or a full-time employee of the partnership
The party is an unincorporated association
A member of the governing body or a full-time employee of the unincorporated association
The party is a union member of a unionised company
An officer of the union
The party is below 18 years old
The party's parent, guardian, or any person as may be approved by the Tribunal or the Registrar
The party is unable to present his own case by reason of illiteracy or infirmity of mind or body
A person who is duly authorised in writing by the party as may be approved by the Tribunal or the Registrar
The party is the Government
A public officer
8. Can someone else sit in ECT Hearings with me?
All ECT proceedings are conducted in private. During ECT proceedings, media personnel and members of the public are not allowed to be present.
However, the ECT may permit any prescribed individual, any individual belonging to a prescribed class of individuals, or any other individual that the ECT deems fit to observe the hearing of a claim.
If a claimant or respondent is a union member in a non-unionised company, and has undergone mediation under the Tripartite Mediation Framework, he or she may seek consent from the ECT to have the tripartite mediation advisor sit in to observe the ECT hearing.
9. What happens if the other party does not turn up in the ECT even after I served the documents on him?
If any party to the proceedings does not attend the proceedings, the ECT may proceed with the hearing in the absence of that party and make the appropriate orders.
10. What court orders can the ECT make?
After hearing the dispute, the ECT may make an order:
At any stage of proceedings, the ECT may order parties to go for mediation. Any party who fails to do so may be guilty of contempt of court and is liable to a fine of up to S$20,000 or an imprisonment term not exceeding 12 months, or both. The ECT may also refer that party to the Public Prosecutor to consider if criminal charges should be brought against him.
11. What will the ECT consider before making an order?
Considerations include the following:
12. What can I do if the respondent refuses to comply with the ECT order?
An ECT order may be enforced in the same manner as an order made by a District Court. Information on the enforcement of the ECT orders can be found here at the "Enforcing a Tribunal Order" page.
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