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Mediation guide

Mediation helps employees and employers resolve employment disputes, or self-employed persons resolve payment-related disputes, amicably.

Resolving the dispute on your own

If you have an employment dispute, or payment-related dispute if you are a self-employed person, your first step should be to discuss it with the other party.

For the employee, key tips for a successful discussion:
  • Calendar icon

    Arrange a meeting with your HR department

    • Understand your rights and obligations - know your employment rightsand refer to your employee handbook and employment contract.
    • Prepare proof of your claims, such as salary records, bank statements or attendance records.
    • Be specific and accurate about the issues you are disputing so the discussion can be focused.
  • Discussion icon

    Going for the meeting

    • Seek to understand if the issue was caused by an unintentional error or misunderstanding.
    • Have a calm, open and honest discussion with the aim of resolving the issue.
  • Writing icon

    Finishing the meeting

    • Put the agreed outcomes in writing for follow up after the discussion.

What is mediation

Mediation is a process aimed at helping employees and employers resolve employment disputes, or self-employed persons resolve payment-related disputes, amicably.

Who are the mediators

Mediation is conducted by our professional mediators.

Our mediators will assist parties to explore options and arrive at fair and amicable outcomes.

Who attends

Only the employee and employer, or self-employed personand business, and mediator will attend the mediation session. No lawyers are allowed.

  • The employee or self-employed person has to attend personally.
  • The company can send a representative who is an employee and is authorised to settle the dispute.

Duration

Each session takes 2 to 3 hours, depending on the complexity and nature of the claim.

Number of sessions

Most issues can be resolved in one session. If not, we will arrange for another session if necessary.

Mediation session

More than 8 in 10 claims are resolved through mediation.

View our results

Mediation for salary-related and wrongful dismissal claims

Note: If you are self-employed, see Mediation for other employment or payment-related disputes instead.

Wrongful dismissal claims flowchart
Salary-related claims flowchart

For more information, you can refer to the Amendments to the Employment Act.

Note: If you are filing for both wrongful dismissal and salary-related claims, you need to file the two claims separately. We will mediate both claims in the same session if your wrongful dismissal claim is substantiated.

Requesting mediation

What claims are covered

You can submit a mediation request at TADM for the following claims:

For employees

Salary-related claims that are:

  • Covered by law, e.g. salary in lieu of notice, non-payment of salary, overtime pay, paid leave or maternity leave.
  • Covered in your employment contract, e.g. bonuses, commission or deduction from salary.

Wrongful dismissal claims for reinstatement or compensation under the Employment Actand Child Development Co-Savings Act.

Please refer to the Tripartite Guidelines on Wrongful Dismissalpublished by the Ministry of Manpower to understand what is considered wrongful dismissal.

For employers Only for notice pay, if an employee leaves without serving notice.

Claim period and amount

File your claim early, as there are limits to the claim period and claim amount.

Time limit for claims

Salary-related claims:

  • If you are still in employment – within 1 year after the dispute arose. For example, if you are claiming for owed salaries for 1 Apr 2018, you should file your claim no later than 1 Apr 2019.
  • If you have left employment – within 6 months after your last date of employment. Your claims cannot be earlier than 1 year from the date of filing, For example: If you left employment on 1 Apr 2019, you should file your claim no later than 1 Oct 2019. You can only claim for owed salaries from 1 Apr 2018 to 1 Apr 2019.

Wrongful dismissal claims:

  • If non-maternity related – within 1 month after your last day of employment.
  • If maternity related – within 2 months of the birth of your child.

Note: If you are a manager or executive earning more than $4,500, you can only file a wrongful dismissal claim if you were dismissed on or after 1 April 2019. If you were dismissed with notice or salary in-lieu of notice, you must also have served your employer for at least 6 months. If you were dismissed without notice, no minimum service period is required.

Maximum claim amount
  • Up to $20,000 per claim.
  • Up to $30,000 per claim for union members claiming with their union’s help.

If you are filing for both salary-related and wrongful dismissal claims, you may file claims worth up to $40,000 (non-union members) or $60,000 (union members).

Claim limits apply when entering into a settlement agreement after mediation, or lodging a claim at the Employment Claims Tribunals.

Who can request mediation for a claim

You can file a claim if you are:

  • An employee (except for a domestic worker, seafarer or public officer).
  • An employer, only for notice pay.

Note: If you are a self-employed person, domestic worker, seafarer or public officer, you have other channels for handling your claim:

File a claim for mediation

This will allow you to request for mediation at TADM.

File a claim online

If you have details of the claim, including the amount, submitting your mediation request online is the fastest channel.

To file, use the relevant eService for employees or for employers.

The non-refundable registration fees are:

  • $10 per claim if you are claiming $10,000 or less
  • $20 per claim if you are claiming more than $10,000

For example, if you are filing a salary-related claim amounting to $12,000 and a wrongful dismissal claim amounting to $3,000, the registration fees for each claim would be $20 and $10 respectively.

After filing, a mediation session will be arranged within 4 weeks. For wrongful dismissal claims, we will assess if the claim is substantiated before arranging for a mediation.

Tip: See these salary guides and calculatorsfor how to calculate your claim amount.

Get help with filing

If you are unsure of your claim or unable to file it online, you can make an appointment at TADM for us to help you.

For union members

If you are a union member, you should approach your union to file your claim.

By filing through the union, your claim limit is $30,000. Your union will also be able to assist you.

You can contact NTUC at 6213 8008 or visit NTUC’s Workplace Advisory Serviceif you need advice and assistance.

If the company is under bankruptcy, judicial management or liquidation

If your company is already under bankruptcy, judicial management or liquidation, you cannot file the claim with us. You should file your claim directly with the Insolvency Office or the appointed judicial manager or liquidator.

Please refer to the Judicial Management Guide for more details. If you are unsure, you can make an appointment for advice.

Withdraw a claim before mediation

If the other party asks for a private settlement before mediation, you are encouraged to discuss this with an open mind. If you think you are able to reach an amicable settlement, this will save time.

If you have reached a settlement or changed your mind about the claim, you can withdraw your claim by submitting the “Withdrawal of Claim” form.

Postpone a mediation date

You should not postpone the mediation session because this inconveniences the other party, who has made arrangements to attend.

A change of date is allowed only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to produce strong and valid reasons with supporting documents.

To request for postponement:

  1. Send an email request to the mediator at least 3 working days before the mediation. Refer to your notification letter for the email address.
  2. Indicate the reason for the postponement and provide supporting documents. Example: proof of hospitalisation.

Your request is subject to the approval of our mediator. Without our approval, all parties must attend the original scheduled mediation session.

Note: There may be consequences for not attending the mediation.

Going for mediation

What to bring

You should bring:

  • Identification documents, e.g. NRIC, work pass card.
  • Employment contract or key employment terms.
  • Relevant employment documents to support the claim, e.g. salary payment records, termination letter, email or letter exchanges on the dispute.

Note:

  • (For employers) If you appoint an employee to represent you, he will also need to bring an authorisation letter.
  • A person who is below 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian.

Outcome of mediation

If mediation is successful, a written settlement agreement will be reached. If mediation fails, you have the option of filing the claim with the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT) under the State Courts.

Settlement agreement

If the mediation is successful, the mediator will issue a settlement agreement.

You can register the settlement agreement(s)as a binding order via the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS)within 4 weeks . The registration fee for each settlement agreement is $10.

Filing the claim with ECT

If the dispute is not resolved at mediation, you may be issued a claim referral certificate for you to file your claim at the ECTwithin 4 weeks.

You can file your claim via the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS).

The lodgement fee for each claim is:

  • $30 if you are claiming $10,000 or less.
  • $60 if your claim exceeds $10,000.

If one party doesn’t attend mediation

For mediation to be effective in helping to resolve the dispute, both parties must attend.

As the claimant, your case may be discontinued if you do not attend mediation without a valid reason.

If the other party does not attend, you may pursue the case further at the ECT. The ECT may impose cost on the other party who did not attend mediation and award the cost to you.

For employers

If you do not attend mediation, we will inform MOM, which may take action against you. This includes curtailing work pass privileges and investigating Employment Act breaches.

After mediation

Inform us when the other party pays

The party responding to the claim will need to pay the agreed amount within 2 weeks of the settlement agreement, or by a mutually agreed date.

After you have received payment, inform us by returning the Updating Payment Status of Settlement Agreement form or the ECT Order form.

If the other party fails to pay you as agreed, contact us as indicated in the Payment Status of Settlement Agreement form or the ECT Order form. We will assess the options available to help you.

For employers

Pay early if possible. If payment is not made by the due date, we will inform MOM, which may take action against you. This includes curtailing work pass privileges and investigating Employment Act breaches.

Financial relief

Local low-income employees will be assisted through the Short-Term Relief Fund if they are unable to recover unpaid salaries due to business failure. The fund broadly covers the bottom 20th percent of the workforce.

Foreign workers will be referred to the Migrant Workers' Centre , which can provide relief on a case-by-case basis.

Mediation for other employment or payment-related disputes

For age-related or denial of re-employment related appeals

You may be referred to us for mediation if you have appealed to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). You need to appeal to MOM within 1 month after your last day of employment.

Upon referral by MOM, you and your employer will be asked to attend a mediation session at TADM. The aim of the session is to reach a fair and amicable settlement.

For instructions, refer to the following:

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