Four things Singapore employers should know about handling grievances

The latest Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling has already been adopted by over 220 employers.

The Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling, the third in a series of the Singapore labour movement's Tripartite Standards, was launched on Friday (October 20).

The purpose of these new guidelines is to help employers manage workplace grievances and build an inclusive and harmonious workplace by putting in place grievance hand,ing procedures.

Here are four things all Singapore employers should know about the new standard before they decide to adopt it:

  1. 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.

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

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

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

So far, over 220 employers have adopted the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling. They employ about 245,000 workers.

The requirement was launched to complement the current range of mediation and advisory services offered by the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), which has helped 90% of employees recover their salaries in full, amounting to about S$5 million in total.

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

“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,” said Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say.

“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.”  

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