As the pandemic economy began to recover, more workers were collecting unpaid salaries and complaining about torts less often.

The Ministry of Labor (MOM) released its 2021 Employment Standards Report on Monday (July 18), with some of these claims coming through the portal and being enhanced by artificial intelligence in the future. Said to support future reconciliation.

Singapore’s online dispute resolution portal has processed 430 complaints since its launch in March 2021, with 32% among the parties to the dispute before the Tripartite Alliance for Conflict Management (TADM) intervenes. It was concluded.

An additional 56% were settled in virtual mediation without the parties even having to meet. According to the report, further improvements to enable remote signing of settlement agreements and chatbots to assist in billing and calculation are planned by next year.

Partly due to economic improvements, 2021 has been the “best performing year” since TADM was founded in 2017, said its general manager, Kandabel Periyasami.

The organization has set three records: the number of disputes mediated in resolution, the speed of resolution, and the percentage of workers who have fully recovered their wages for help.

On the dispute resolution portal, he added, TADM now wants to go beyond the “great” customer experience.

Overall, workers reduced disputes between employers and authorities last year. A total of 5,882 complaints and appeals such as tort were filed. Local workers submitted 64% of them, the rest from foreigners.

This aggregate is equivalent to 1.73 claims for every 1,000 employees (excluding foreign maids) submitted last year against 2.59 in 2020.

Payroll claims, which account for 82% of all complaints, have fallen, and workers have regained $ 8.6 million.

According to MOM, the recovery of the accommodation, food service, wholesale and retail sectors has reduced wage billing.

Foreign workers in Singapore also added that they made “significantly” fewer claims.

The ministry said the initial interventions of the last two years worked. Employers were able to pre-declare and make access to assistance when they were unable to pay their wages, and workers could be alerted to the ministry early on salary delinquency via the app.

This brought salaries to approximately 24,000 foreign workers last year without the need for formal billing.

TADM settled about 84% of salary claims and referred the rest to the Employment Claims Court (ECT) for a ruling.

The number of claims corrected in two months increased “dramatically” from 76% in 2020 to 92% last year due to a decline in accommodation.

From 92% to 95% in 2020, more unpaid wages were fully recovered from the employer.

Insurance companies, prime contractors, or worker support programs have resolved an additional 3 percent of salary disputes.

According to MOM, the remaining 2% of uncollected wages were submitted primarily by unqualified workers.

Employers who deliberately refused to raise workers’ salaries accounted for less than 1 percent of salary claims.

The work paths of these employers have been suspended and may face the prospect of prosecution, MOM said.

Claims for fraudulent dismissal dropped from 0.39 in 2020 to 0.27 for every 1,000 workers last year.

Mostly from local workers, they filed a claim of 0.34 for every 1,000 employees against 0.10 of foreign staff.

Approximately 26% of workers were successfully charged and charged $ 1.5 million. Their employers also had to remedy by compensating, explaining, or promoting the job hunting activities of their employees.

TADM helped resolve 62% of these claims and sent 38% to ECT for arbitrage.

According to the report, the unsuccessful allegations were “often accompanied by disputes over job performance or due to poor communication between employers and employees.”

Through Workright’s outreach, MOM raises workers’ understanding of employment law and checks the enforcement of false employers, especially those in the “vulnerable” sector based on progressive wage models (PWM) such as cleaning and landscaping. Is strengthening. Not only security services.

About 90 employers were found to be in breach of gradual wage levels, and about one-third of security agencies assigned officers beyond the maximum working hours allowed by law last year.

Resolved dispute:

1. Wrong dismissal:

“Mr. Lee’s” Singapore employer agreed to help him change jobs to a vendor after deciding to stay in Malaysia, where he returned during the pandemic after border control was over.

However, the employer failed the paperwork and he filed a motion for tort with TADM.

TADM could not find conclusive evidence to support his claim.

After TADM’s mediation, Lee’s employer compensated him for the loss of income during that period, as a well-meaning gesture.

2. Cost refund

“Gary” owed more than $ 7,000 for supplies and meals that were required to be purchased regularly for other workers when the company’s cash flow was exhausted during a pandemic. Was there.

After several attempts to get his boss to pay, he claimed unpaid salary.

Under TADM mediation, his boss agrees to settle in three installments, and progress will be tracked by TADM.

Two months later, Gary received a refund.

3. Unpaid salary

“Daniel” took his boss to TADM with an unpaid salary because he worked overtime unpaid and received only part of his wages for two years of employment.

His boss agreed to pay less than half of what he owe.

Daniel’s boss forgave after TADM warned that the proceedings would be sent to the Employment Claims Court for a ruling.

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