Approximately 5 to10 PMEs who were earning more than $4,500 a month were approaching the National Trades Union Congress for assistance with workplace grievances, according to the labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC). Most of these grievances were focused on unfair dismissals, which is why this new proposed changes to the Employment Act is set to change all that.
Before the changes, the only recourse for these types of cases was to either go through a civil suit or a voluntary mediation if they were unable to resolve the issue with the employer or through a union, since they were not covered under the Employment Act. In addition to that, many companies which these PMEs worked for were not unionised, making things significantly more difficult to find a legal ground to stand on.
Thanks to the new proposed changes, this group of PMEs will now be able to appeal to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to either get their old jobs back or be paid a compensation. Rank-and-file workers like clerks and retail assistance will also be given additional protection under the proposed changes.
As the rights of PMEs are better defined in the new amendments, it provides a more cost-effective and time saving solution for PMEs to redress any grievances.
Another big change that PMEs can expect is employees earning up to $2,600 will be eligible for overtime pay, an increase from the previous cap of $2,500. MOM will also provide improvements as to how employment disputes are settled
Before the changes, wrongful dismissal claims will be handled by MOM, while salary-related disputes will be handled by the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT). Once the changes come into effect, the ECT will have the power to address both these issues.
Yet another benefit to be gained with this new implementation is that it now provides a one-stop platform to help consolidate the legal issues pertaining to the employee’s rights and create a more inclusive work environment for all employees in Singapore.
With Change Comes the Promise of a Better Future
With the last review of the Employment Act being in 2012, and the latest amendments only coming into effect in 2015, it’s about time for another change for the betterment of Singapore’s employees.
One thing’s for sure, these amendments to the Employment Act are a much needed and welcomed changed, especially since PMEs make up a third of Singapore’s resident workforce, and they hold the promise of a better future and better work environment all around for anyone aspiring to work in Singapore’s might business hub.
1st April 2019 already looks promising.
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