When Do Disputes Happen
- Disputes normally arise over:
- failure to pay salary
- demand for higher pay
- demand for better working conditions
- unfair dismissal of an employee
What You Must Do
- Always attempt to settle disputes through open discussions and negotiations. Good human resource practices can help to keep nasty disputes to a minimum.
- Treat all your staff fairly. Be consistent. Don't favour any employee and make sure you do not discriminate against anyone either.
- Discuss with your employee as soon as you are aware of any issue. Discussing problems early may prevent them from escalating.
Actions Employees May Take Against You
- Your employee may sue you for breach of contract.
- If your employee is covered under the Employment Act, he/she can lodge a complaint with the Labour Relations and Workplaces Division, Ministry of Manpower.
- The Labour Relations and Workplaces Division will investigate the complaint. The Commissioner may dismiss the claim or order you to pay a sum of money to the employee.
- The Commissioner may also refer the matter to the Labour Court to resolve the dispute.
- If your employees are part of a trade union, they may request the trade union to represent and negotiate on their behalf.
- Trade unions are empowered under the Trade Unions Act to negotiate on behalf of their members.
- Trade unions cannot challenge the employer's decision to:
- transfer an employee within an organisation
- promote any employee
- terminate employees due to redundancy
- retrench employees
- employ any person he wishes to fill vacancies
- assign duties to an employee in line with his/her employment terms
- When you reach an agreement with trade unions, it is known as a "collective agreement".
- The collective agreement, once certified by the Industrial Arbitration Court, is binding on all parties.
- If you fail to reach to an agreement, the Commissioner of Labour may intervene and appoint conciliation officers to resolve the matter.
- If still no agreement can be reached, the matter can be taken to the Industrial Arbitration Court by either party.
Getting More Infomation
- To find out more about handling disputes, you could:
- Find out more about Singapore's laws & regulations:
- You may also contact the Ministry of Manpower’s Advisory Services and Dispute Resolution at (65) 6438 5122.