In tandem with Singapore’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of employment standards also improved in 2021. This was reflected by a significant fall in the overall incidence of employment claims and appeals lodged with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). In addition, a higher proportion of employees recovered their salaries in full, and the overall incidence of wrongful dismissal claims fell in 2021, compared to 2020.

These findings are included in the Employment Standards Report 2021 released yesterday. The report highlights tripartite efforts in helping employers and employees resolve employment disputes and improve employment practices. It also highlights TADM’s continued efforts in leveraging digital innovations to improve customer experience.

Key Highlights from Report
Fall in incidence of employment claims and appeals 
The overall number of employment claims and appeals lodged with MOM and TADM fell significantly from 2.59 in 2020 to 1.73 per 1,000 employees in 2021. The decrease was due to a fall in salary claims for both local and foreign employees, which made up most employment claims.

Higher proportion of full salary recovery for claimants
Looking at the total number of salary claims lodged in 2021, TADM and the Employment Claims Tribunals assisted 95 per cent of the employees to recover their salaries in full, compared to 92 per cent in 2020. MOM also suspended the work pass privileges of employers who did not fully repay their employees.

Fall in incidence of wrongful dismissal claims
The overall incidence of wrongful dismissal claims fell from 0.39 in 2020 to 0.27 per 1,000 employees in 2021.

a. Of the wrongful dismissal claims assessed by TADM, 26 per cent were substantiated.

b. Of the 74 per cent unsubstantiated claims, many of them had arisen from miscommunication between the employer and employee over issues such as work performance. The employers had fulfilled their contractual or statutory obligations of employment termination with notice.

More than 9 in 10 salary claims and 8 in 10 wrongful dismissal claims were concluded within two months of lodging the claim at TADM – an improvement from 2020.

Removal of Cost-Saving Notification Requirement and Advisory on Retrenchment Benefit as a Result of Business Difficulties
MOM has also reviewed these temporary measures which were first implemented to deal with disruptions to business:

a. In March 2020, MOM introduced a requirement for employers with more than 10 employees to notify MOM if they implement any cost-saving measures that affected employees’ monthly salaries.

b. In May 2020, MOM issued an Advisory on Retrenchment Benefit Payable to Retrenched Employees as a Result of Business Difficulties due to COVID-19 (“Advisory”). This provided employers more flexibility on retrenchment benefit payments in view of the difficult economic conditions then.

Given the reduction in number of notifications and assistance sought on retrenchment benefits, MOM will cease the cost-saving notification requirement and remove the Advisory beginning 1 August 2022.


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