Making Strides in Managing Workplace Disputes

20 Oct 2017Press Releases

1. Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say launched the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling at an event organised by the tripartite partners today. This is the third1 of a series of Tripartite Standards to be rolled out since end July. At the event, Minister Lim also gave a six-month progress update on the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management2 (TADM), set up in April this year.

TADM’s Six-Month Progress Update

2. Since April this year, 4,600 employees and employers have registered salary claims with TADM (including 800 PMEs). Through mediation, TADM has helped 90% ofemployeesrecover their salaries in full. The amount recovered was about $5 million.

3. In addition, TADM now provides advice to all employees on employment and contractual issues. About 3,800 employees have benefited from this, with 200 of them receiving additional help for disputes not covered by employment laws, through voluntary mediation and legal clinics.

Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling Launched

4. The Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling (see Annex for full specifications) requires employers to put in place grievance handling procedures to manage workplace grievances and build an inclusive and harmonious workplace.

5. To help employers put in place grievance handling procedures, the tripartite partners outlined four specifications in the Standard.

a) Firstly, employers that adopt this Tripartite Standard commit to providing a channel for employees to raise grievances, and to conduct proper investigations and respond to the affected employees.

b) Second, employers commit to clearly communicating and documenting the grievance handling procedure (e.g. in the collective agreement, company circular or memo).

c) Third, employers state the appropriate authority to hear the appeal and a reasonable time frame for action to be taken. Employees are given the right to bring any unresolved grievance to the next level (e.g. request the assistance of the union if the employee is a union member in a unionised company).

d) Lastly, employers commit to training supervisors and relevant employees to manage feedback and grievances, and work with the union if the company is unionised.

6. Together with the tripartite partners, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) is working with employers to help them adopt this Standard. Today, over 220 employers have adopted the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling. They employ about 245,000 workers.

7. Minister for Manpower, Mr Lim Swee Say, said, “With TADM’s mediation and advisory services now covering a wider range of disputes for more employees, especially PMEs, the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling has been launched to help more employers better manage employment disputes and grievances early,in their companies. We encourage employers to sign on to this Standard to lead the way for other employers to follow and help employees identify employers with such progressive practices.”

8. NTUC President, Ms Mary Liew, said, “With TADM and the launch of the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling, workers now have additional avenues to help them resolve grievances and disputes. In particular, PMEs can now settle their employment disputes amicably, without resorting to costly civil suits. The Labour Movement together with our affiliated Unions, will continue to work closely with the tripartite partners to safeguard the interests of all workers.”

9. SNEF President, Dr Robert Yap,noted that,“Grievances and disputes are clearly not desirable outcomes at any workplace. Employers are strongly encouraged to put in place effective grievance handling procedures, and work with the tripartite partners to minimise the impact of any grievances and disputes, and restore harmonious employer-employee relationships.”

10. TAFEP and the tripartite partners will continue to reach out to more employers to adopt the Tripartite Standards. Interested employers may visit to adopt the Tripartite Standard(s) or contact TAFEP at to obtain more information.

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  • 1. The Tripartite Standards on Employment of Term Contract Employees and on Flexible Work Arrangements were launched on 31 July and 6 October respectively.
  • 2. TADM commenced operations in April this year to provide a comprehensive and inclusive dispute management landscape,to help both employers and employees manage a wider range of employment disputes.