On 1 February 2011 amendments to the Industrial Relations Act were brought into force in Singapore. Among the amendments is the establishment of a new scheme for the mediation of certain disputes involving employees who are employed in "professional, managerial or executive positions" and their employers. These employees (provided they fall within the salary cap for bringing such claims) may elect to refer disputes to mediation conducted by a conciliation officer, appointed by the Commissioner of Labour, as long as the dispute relates to:
- a breach of employment contract by the employer;
- salary due to an executive employee; or
- a retrenchment benefit payable or to be paid to an executive by his/her employer.
These amendments will provide the relevant employees with an additional dispute resolution mechanism. Previously, the only alternative to trying to settle a dispute privately was to commence litigation proceedings in the courts.