Labour policy in Singapore has long been handled collaboratively by the Government, employee unions and employers in what is known as the tripartism movement. This movement has now been formalised through the setting up of a corporate body, Tripartite Alliance Limited (TAL), which will subsume the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Practices (TAFEP) as well as a newly created body, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).

Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management

As HR practitioners are no doubt aware, employees and employers are now able to lodge salary-related claims with the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT). As covered by our previous update, mediation is compulsory for salaryrelated claims before they can be filed with the ECT. The TADM will conduct this mediation. Parties must therefore register their claims at the TADM for mediation prior to filing claims at the ECT; only where mediation is unsuccessful will the TADM issue a claim referral certificate, which a claimant must lodge with their claim at the ECT.

Besides conducting mediation for salary-related disputes, the TADM also offers advisory and mediation services for other employment-related disputes. The TADM has a claims limit of SGD20,000 (or SGD30,000 for union members), though all employees regardless of salary can access the TADM's services.

Tripartite Alliance Limited

Both the TADM and TAFEP will come under TAL, a new corporate body set up and co-funded by the tripartite partners (the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF)). The creation of TAL allows the tripartite partners to pool resources as well as their expertise in order to better assist employees. Besides advocating for fair treatment of employees, it has also been announced that TAL intends to focus on workplace health and safety.

What this means for employers

The labour landscape in Singapore continues to evolve as the government introduces more measures to help employees regardless of their coverage by the Employment Act. Employees now have an additional avenue to bring employment-related claims and obtain assistance with such matters. This is a useful juncture for employers to review their contractual arrangements and HR processes and ensure that they are compliant with employment laws and statutory obligations.