Work provides sustenance for people by means of a monthly pay, and non-payment of salary is something unthinkable that many would want to avoid at all costs.
However, there may be circumstances where delayed or non-payment of monthly pay may happen. Just recently, there were reports on former employees filing claims against their ex-employer, a local startup, for non-payment of their salaries.
What if one is saddled with the burden of non-payment of their pay and wants to stake a claim on what they should be rightfully receiving? We lay out the steps below.
#1 Seek Clarification From Your Company
According to the Employment Act, employers are obliged to pay their staff salary within 7 days after the end of the salary period. For overtime work, the salary must be paid within 14 days after the end of the salary period.
For example, if the salary period for March is between 1st and 31st of the month, employers are given up to 7th April to pay their staff the wages for the month of March, and up to 14th April to pay for the overtime wages.
For those who are leaving the company, the final salary payment could vary depending on the following situation:
|Situation||Final salary must be paid|
|Employee resigns and serves the required notice period||On the last day of employment|
|Employee resigns without notice and doesn’t serve the notice period||Within 7 days of the last day of employment.|
|Dismissal on grounds of misconduct or employer terminates contract||On the last day of employment.
If this is not possible, then within 3 working days from date of dismissal.
In case of a late payment of salary, employees should look directly to their employer and understand what is happening. Employees who are still under the employment of the company should also ask if scheduled regular payment of salary can be resumed.
If the employer is unable to continue paying the salary of the employees after this step, employees should immediately file for a claim.
#2 File A Claim With TADM Or Your Trade Union
Should the employer fail to deliver on the payment of the salary, employees should first file a claim at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), or to seek assistance with their respective trade union if they are a member, before their case can be heard.
Employees can claim up to a maximum of $20,000 (or $30,000 if the mediation is assisted by unions recognised by the Industrial Relations Act). They should also note that if the claim exceeds the maximum amount, the excess amount must be forfeited before any settlement can be entered.
In addition to the salary limit, employees should take note of the following window period:
For statutory and contractual salary-related claims:
|Still employed by the company||Within 1 year after the dispute arose|
|No longer employed by the company||Within 6 months from your last day of work|
For wrongful dismissal claims:
|For pregnant employees||For wrongful dismissal without being paid your maternity benefits, you must file your claim within 2 months from the date of your confinement|
|For other types of wrongful dismissal claims||Within 1 month from your last day of work|
Once the claim is filed, the TADM will proceed to resolve the claim with all parties through mediation and advisory.
TADM will also provide short-term financial relief to help low-income claimants, if their employer cannot pay the salary arrears due to business failure.
Upon a successful settlement of the case, both parties will sign on a settlement agreement, which will be registered at the District Court within 4 weeks, which would be enforceable as a Court Order.
#3 File A Claim With Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT)
Should an unfortunate case where the claim cannot be resolved through mediation, TADM will issue a claim referral certificate, and the case will be referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT).
At this stage, the employee will have to file the claim with the ECT, via the Community Justice and Tribunals System, within 4 weeks after the Claim Referral Certificate was issued. A fee of $30 for claims amounting to $10,000 and below, and $60 for claims exceeding $10,000 is payable upon filing the claim with the ECT.
The ECT may make an order of either requiring for the employer to pay the money owed to the employee or dismiss the whole or any part of the claim. According to the ECT website, the Tribunal will consider the following before making an order:
- Nature of the claim, such as if the claim falls within the jurisdiction of the ECT or categories specified in the Employment Claims Act;
- The monetary value of claim, such as if the claim amount falls within the claim limits of the Act;
- If the claim is made out based on supporting documents;
- Efforts made by the employee and employer to settle the claim.
At any stage of the proceedings, the ECT may order both parties to go for mediation, and any refusal to comply with the order may be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable for prosecution.
It is also important to note that while ECT hearings are conducted in private, the Tribunal may permit any individual deemed fit to observe the hearing of the claim.
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