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COVID 19 ACT: Impact made to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 in excluding calculation of days

The Covid-19 Act makes provision for the Industrial Relations Act 1967 (‘IRA 1967’) whereby it seeks to exclude the calculation of period under the IRA 1967 in relation to:

  • according recognition by an employer or a trade union of employers or notifying the trade union of workmen concerned in writing the grounds for not according recognition;
  • the making of a report in writing by the trade union of workmen to the Director General for Industrial Relations;  and
  • also the filing of representations on dismissals.

Section 39 and 40 of the Covid-19 Act deems for this exclusion to have come into operation on the 18th of March 2020 whereby the period from 18 March 2020 to 9 June 2020 shall be excluded from the calculation of the period for the above (i), (ii) and (iii) as stipulated under the IRA 1967.

Therefore, this would suggest that the period from 18 March 2020 to 9 June 2020 shall not be taken into account in calculating;

  1.  the twenty-one (21) days for according recognition or notifying the trade union of workmen concerned in writing the grounds for not according recognition (section 9(3) of the IRA 1967);
  2.  the fourteen (14) days for the making of a report in writing to the Director General for Industrial Relations (section 9(4) of the IRA 1967);  and,
  3. the sixty (60) days when filing of representation on dismissal (section 20(1A) of the IRA 1967).

This provision would be helpful for;

  1. employer/trade union of employers whom have been served with a claim for recognition who accorded recognition; or only notified the trade union of workmen concerned in writing the grounds for not according recognition after the twenty-one days duration (during the period of 18 March 2020 to 9 June 2020);
  2. trade union of workmen who exceeded the fourteen days to report the matter in writing to the Director General (during the period of 18 March 2020 to 9 June 2020); and,
  3. workmen who exceeded the sixty days in filing for representation on dismissals (during the period of 18 March 2020 to 9 June 2020).

However, it may be indifferent for

  • employer/trade union of employers who failed to accord recognition or write grounds for not according recognition;
  • trade union of workmen who failed to make the report in writing to the Director General;
  • workmen who failed to file representations on dismissals within the stipulated time period at this juncture (or even when the Act is finally gazetted) since the time would have started to run/continued running from 9 June 2020 onwards and would have lapsed by now (at the time of posting this article). 

Should you wish to know whether you can still file a complaint to the Industrial Relations Department, kindly email to [email protected]

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Legal Associate at Chee Hoe & Associates. She practises law and primarily focuses on litigation disputes such as corporate and commercial litigation, contractual disputes, defamation, winding-up petitions and liquidations proceedings. Her experiences in litigation also include other areas such as family law matters, and legal issues concerning industrial relations and employment law.