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The Employment Claims Act 2016 (Act 21 of 2016) (the "Employment Claims Act") sets up the new Employment Claims Tribunals ("ECT"), which provide employees and employers with an expeditious and affordable avenue to resolve statutory and contractual salary-related disputes. The Employment Claims Act also aims to facilitate the resolution of salary-related employment disputes for more employees, including Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), who earn more than S$4,500 per month and are currently beyond the coverage of the Employment Act, through the ECT.
The ECT came into operation on 1 April 2017.
1. How do I file an ECT claim?
Before a claim can be filed at the ECT, parties must first submit their request for mediation at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management ("TADM"), whose role is to provide advisory and compulsory mediation services. Only unresolved disputes may be referred to the ECT.The process to file an ECT claim is as follows: If your matter remains unresolved after mediation at TADM, the TADM mediator will issue a claim referral certificate for you to file a claim at the ECT. You must file your claim with the ECT within 4 weeks from the date of issuance of the claim referral certificate. Every claim filed at the ECT must be made in the relevant Form (Form 65) and accompanied by relevant supporting documents, a claim referral certificate issued by TADM and the prescribed filing fees.
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2. Where can I file an ECT claim?You can file a claim at the Employment Claims Registry located in the Community Justice and Tribunals Division at Level 1 of the State Courts building, 1 Havelock Square, Singapore 059724.
The operating and filing hours of the Employment Claims Registry are as follows:
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
3. What documents do I bring in order to file a claim at the ECT?You will need to bring:
a) Personal identification documents
b) Claim Referral Certificate from TADM
c) Filing fees (S$30 for a claim amount of S$10,000 and below; S$60 for a claim amount of more than S$10,000)
d) Three (3) copies of the Claim (Form 65) and relevant supporting documents, for example:
You are required to prepare 3 identical sets of the above documents:
4. I have salary-related claims from various months which total sum exceeds the claims limit. Can I submit separate mediation requests for each claim separately for each month?You are not allowed to split your claims and pursue multiple ECT proceedings if the only reason for doing so is to bring the amount claimed within the claim limit.
5. I am below 18 years old. Can I file a claim in ECT?If you are below 18 years old and have gone through TADM mediation for your claim, you can proceed to file a claim in the ECT if you are represented by a parent or guardian.
6. I am above 18 years old but below 21 years old. Can I file a claim at the ECT?Yes. Under section 36 of the Civil Law Act (Cap. 43), you may bring a claim in the ECT, or defend, conduct or intervene in ECT proceedings.
7. What are the fees payable for a claim to be filed at the ECT?The fees for filing a claim at the ECT are as follows:
Claimant's filing fee
Respondent's filing fee
More than $10,000*
Depending on the complexity of your case, you may also incur other charges. Some of these common fees are:
For a full list of the fees involved, please refer to the First Schedule and Third Schedule to the Employment Claims Rules 2017. The First Schedule can be viewed here and the Third Schedule can be viewed here.
8. How do I serve the documents that are used in ECT proceedings?
You may serve the documents using the following modes:
9. Can I serve a document outside Singapore?
A claim or summons cannot be served on any person outside Singapore.
If a party you wish to claim against is residing overseas (for individuals), or whose registered office or place of business is overseas (for non-individuals), you would have to seek your own legal advice on your available course of action. However, once a claim is filed and served in Singapore, all subsequent documents relating to the ECT proceedings may be served on persons outside Singapore (except for summonses).
10. Can an employer object to a claim filed by an employee?No, an employer cannot prevent a claim from being filed by its employee. All employees covered under the Employment Claims Act are entitled to file a salary-related claim with the ECT. If the employer does not agree to the claim against it, the employer may present its case during mediation at TADM and/or the hearing at the ECT.
11. Can employees make a joint claim against their employer?No, they may not. Employees are required to submit their mediation request / their claims separately. The claims limit will be applicable to each individual's claims.Although the claims cannot be submitted or filed collectively, the claims may be mediated at TADM or heard at the ECT together, if, depending on the facts of the case, it is convenient to do so.
12. Can the respondent make a counterclaim against the claimant?Yes, the respondent can. If the respondent has a counterclaim, he/she should submit a mediation request for the counterclaim at TADM.
13. What should I do if I do not speak or understand English? Is there any interpreter to assist me?If you need the services of a Court interpreter for the Chinese (including dialects), Malay and Tamil languages, you must inform the Employment Claims Registry when you are filing the claim, or before the CMC or other proceedings during which the interpreter is required.For any other languages, you would need to engage an interpreter to be present at the CMC or other proceedings. If you require assistance, you may approach the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).
14. Where can I obtain legal advice for my claim?
As the State Courts must remain neutral and independent in adjudicating matters that are filed in the Courts, the State Courts staff are not in the position to provide advice for any matter that is or may come within our court system. If you require legal advice, you may find this list of organisations and their websites useful:
Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC)
Head Office: 60 Paya Lebar Road, #13-45, Paya Lebar Square (Lobby 2), Singapore 409051
Telephone: (+65) 6290 7633
Address: 1 Havelock Square, Level 1 State Courts building, Singapore 059724
Telephone: (+65) 6557 4100
The Law Society of Singapore's Pro Bono Services Office
Address: 50 Market Street, #10-04, Golden Shoe Car Park, Singapore 048940
Telephone: (+65) 6536 0650
(Office in State Courts is only for Criminal Legal Aid Scheme matters)
Address: 1 Supreme Court Lane, Level 5M, Singapore 178879
Telephone: (+65) 6332 4388
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