The guiding principle adopted by the Court is that its decision should be fair, and should take into account not only the interests of the disputing parties but also the interests of the community as a whole and Singapore’s economic condition.
Where the dispute relates to wage adjustments, the Court takes into consideration the recommendations made by the Minister for Manpower under Section 49 of the Employment Act. Where the dispute relates to re-employment of an eligible employee under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, the Court takes note of the tripartite guidelines relating to re-employment issued by the Minister.
When the full Court hears a case and there is no consensus among the members, the decision of the majority will prevail.
The decision of the Court (also known as a Court award) may be conveyed orally or in writing. It is normally given within 2 weeks of the hearing, and often on the same day.
The decision of the Court is final and conclusive. It cannot be challenged, appealed against, reviewed or called in question in any court.
The breach or non-observance of any term of a Court award is an offence. A union or employer who is found guilty of such a breach by a Magistrate’s Court is liable for a fine of up to $5,000. The Court has powers to order compliance with an award which is proved to have been broken or not observed. The Court has the same power as the High Court to punish as contempt of court a failure to comply with an order of the Court. The penalties include a fine of up to $4,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
The written award is available for purchase from IAC by the parties or any member of the public at a cost of $50. A transcript of the Court proceedings is also available for purchase, at a cost of $2.50 per page. The award will be published in the Government Gazette, usually 3-4 months after the hearing.