Mediation guide

Mediation helps employees and employers resolve employment disputes amicably. Find out about mediation at TADM for salary-related claims and other employment disputes.

Resolving the dispute on your own

If you have an employment dispute, your first step should be to discuss it with the other party. Many disputes are resolved amicably by both parties working through the issue together.

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 employers and employees resolve employment-related disputes amicably. Mediation is done in private and behind closed doors. It is faster and less costly than going to court.

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, employer and mediator will attend the mediation session. No lawyers are allowed.

  • The employee 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 9 in 10 salary claims are resolved through mediation.

View our results

Mediation for salary-related claims

The mediation process

Requesting mediation

What claims are covered

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

For employees

Salary-related claims that are:

  • Covered by law e.g. non-payment of salary, overtime pay, notice pay, paid leave or maternity leave.
  • Covered in your employment contract e.g. bonuses, commission or deduction from salary.
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
  • If you are still employed by the company - within 1 year after the dispute arose.
  • If you have left the company - within 6 months of the last day of work.
Maximum claim amount
  • Up to $20,000.
  • Up to $30,000 for union members claiming with their union’s help.

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 freelancer, domestic worker, seafarer or public officer, you have other channels for handling your claim:

  • Freelancer or independent contractor - claim through the Small Claims Tribunal.
  • Foreign domestic worker - call MOM’s Foreign Domestic Worker helpline at 1800 339 5505 (weekdays only).
  • Seafarer - contact the Maritime Port Authority (MPA).
  • Public officer - approach your agency’s HR department.

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. The next step will be a scheduled mediation session at TADM.

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

The non-refundable registration fees are:

  • $10 if you are claiming $10,000 or less
  • $20 if your claim exceeds $10,000

After filing, a mediation session will be arranged within 4 weeks.

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 are unable to file 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 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, liquidation or receivership

If your company is already under bankruptcy, judicial management, receivership or liquidation, you cannot file the claim with us. You should file your claim directly with the Insolvency and Public Trustee's Office (IPTO) or the appointed judicial manager, receiver or liquidator. 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 circumstance. 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 as a binding order at the District Court within 1 month. The lodgement fee is $10.

Within 2 weeks of registration, the party responding to the claim has the right to dispute and set aside this settlement agreement.

Filing the claim with ECT

If the dispute is not resolved at mediation, you will be issued a claim referral certificate for you to file your claim at the ECT.

To file, visit the ECT Registry at the Community Justice and Tribunals Division of the State Courts.

The lodgement fees are:

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

At the ECT, you will go through a pre-trial conference and hearing, which may result in an ECT order.

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 Payment Update Form.

If the other party fails to pay you as agreed, contact us as indicated in the Payment Update 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 can apply for 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. Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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

Mediation for other employment disputes

For employment disputes not covered by legislation

If your dispute is not covered by employment laws, we may offer you mediation if civil actions have not started.

To request for mediation, make an appointment for an advisory session. Our Advisory Officers will go through the case with you and advise you if mediation is suitable.

If a settlement is reached through mediation, the mediator will document the terms of the settlement into an agreement.

Fees

You will need to pay a non-refundable registration fee for mediation. This fee will depend on your last drawn monthly income:

  • $40 for monthly basic salary of up to $10,000.
  • $60 for monthly basic salary of above $10,000.

For dismissal appeals

You may be referred to us for mediation if you have appealed to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) against an unfair dismissal covered under the law.

Upon referral by MOM, we will contact you and your employer to attend a mediation session, with the aim of reaching a fair and amicable settlement.

Note: You need to appeal to MOM within 1 month of leaving employment (or within 2 months of the date of delivery for maternity-related dismissal).

For instructions, refer to the following:

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