According to a report, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), last year observed a slim drop in overall salary claims lodged by employees. There were 2.42 salary claims per 1,000 employees last year, versus 2.49 claims per 1,000 employees in 2017.
Employment Standards Report by MOM and TADMI reveals that 14,757 employees have lodged salary claims from 1 April 2017 to 31 December 2018, following the establishment of TADM. When broken down into local employee claims and foreign employee claims, the data reflected was as follows: Among local employees, a total of 1.43 salary claims were made per 1,000 employees last year (2017: 1.55)
Among foreign employees, the number of salary claims last year was thrice that of local employees, i.e. 4.45 salary claims per 1,000 employees. According to the report, a majority of these claims came from foreign workers in the construction sector.
Basic salary claims took the top spot as the most common type of salary claims filed in the period of 1 April 2017 to 31 December 2018. Specifically, it constituted 82 percent of claims by all employees, 70 percent of those by local employees and lastly, 90 percent of those by foreign employees.
The basic salary claims took place mainly due to issues such as business failures, and technical breaches which arose due to “employers’ lack of understanding of legal requirements such as errors in calculation or late payroll scheduling.”
Additionally, for foreign employees, another contributing factor was employers’ illegal downward adjustments of employees’ salaries, without their consent and without first informing MOM.
Further, the claims of salaries for overtime work, whereby 42 percent of all employees filed such claims. While this was so, a significantly lower 14 percent of local employees filed such a claim, also a steep drop from 59 percent of foreign employees. Reasons cited for this included business failures, as well as “poor awareness among small and medium enterprises” of the legal requirements.
Finally, the smallest percentage of overall employees (8 percent) filed claims relating to salaries in lieu of annual leave.