The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and The Law Society of Singapore (Law Society) launched a new initiative, 'LawWorks' on 19 January 2013, with the aim of educating working people on their legal rights in Singapore. Under the partnership, a series of legal primer talks for targeted groups of working people will be held, and monthly legal clinics will be organised to provide general legal advice and guidance. Legal resources in the form of a compendium of pocket series booklets (quick reference guides in online and hardcopy formats) will be co-developed and made available. These will cover various aspects of the labour law. The first pamphlet, ‘I want to be a Freelance Professional’, was launched concurrently with the broader campaign.
‘LawWorks’ was officially launched on 19 January 2013 with the unveiling of the ‘LawWorks’ logo by Guest of Honour The Honourable The Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon; Special Guest Ms Diana Chia, President of NTUC; then President of the Law Society Senior Counsel Lok Vi Ming; and Mr Patrick Tay, Director of LSD and PME Unit of NTUC. The 200-strong audience comprised union leaders, lawyers, non-profit sector representatives, educators, and partners and stakeholders of NTUC and the Law Society.
Reaching Out to Working People
An important part of the mission of The Law Society is to serve the community by facilitating access to justice. To this end, The Law Society actively promotes pro bono work to address the legal needs of those who cannot afford legal services. In reaching out to individuals in need and extending basic awareness of the law to the community-at-large, the Pro Bono Services Office of the Law Society (now Law Society Pro Bono Services) has worked with various organisations, including voluntary welfare organisations and community development councils.
Senior Counsel Lok Vi Ming, then President of The Law Society shared, “In recent years, the Society’s law awareness work has evolved into a broader programme of partnership with community organisations and educational institutions to educate the public and raise awareness of the law. We seek not just to inform the public about the law but also to provide a platform for discussion on issues of common concern.”
He continued, “Pro bono work is one important aspect of our mission to ensure access to justice. Law awareness is another. In this regard, the Law Society is pleased to collaborate with NTUC to reach out to more working people who may need legal advice in various areas.”
Holistic Legal Services to Union Members
NTUC’s Legal Services Department (LSD) and Industrial Relations Department have been working closely with affiliated unions to provide employment-related representation and/or advice to union members. Last year, the newly formed NTUC Professionals, Managers and Executives Unit (PME Unit) also held quarterly legal primer talks on specific topics (workplace rights for the busy executive and personal data protection) or for targeted working people such as freelance professionals.
“The regular legal primer talks were introduced only last year, and were well-attended and well-received by over 600 participants. The topics were focused on ‘Work’. As a caring Labour Movement, we explored providing legal assistance to our union members that is beyond work-related issues. Since last November, in partnership with the Law Society, three pilot legal clinics were organised. At these one-to-one sessions, our union members sought legal advice on personal matters such as claims, wills, housing and even traffic offences. It was very popular as all three pilot sessions were over-subscribed, hence we want to hold even more sessions this year,” said Mr Patrick Tay, Director of LSD and PME Unit of NTUC.
He added, “With a changing workforce profile, there is a need to reach out to various segments of the working community from rank-and-file workers to PMEs and freelance professionals. Also relevant is the impending amendments to the Employment Act and the importance to bring the updates to the working populace through a pocket series booklets.”
Programmes and Resources under ‘LawWorks’
Aside from the legal primer talks and monthly legal clinics organised under ‘LawWorks’, a pocket series of handy booklets has been co-developed and distributed. The booklets contain relevant and succinct legal information, either on a particular subject pertaining to the workplace, or for a specific group of working people. These booklets contain checklists of key considerations for working people and point the way to avenues for further assistance and advice and can be downloaded.
LawWorks Pocket Series e-Booklets
Click here to download "I want to be a Freelance Professional". It provides pointers on the legal rights of freelancers, the terms to include in a freelance contract (including terms on intellectual property and confidential information), the resolution of disputes between freelancers and hirers, claims from third parties, and the liabilities of freelancers and hirers.
Click here to download "Up close and personal with data" which provides an overview on how an employee’s personal data is protected under the Personal Data Protection Act.
Click here to download "Workplace Bullying: Know Your Rights and Remedies". This booklet explains the various forms bullying can take in the workplace, including the cyberspace, explores possible remedies available and points a victim to the appropriate avenues to seek help.
to download an e-book version of "My First Job".
to download an e-book version of "Women At Work".
Please click here for the speeches
- The Honourable The Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon's Welcome Address
- Mr Lok Vi Ming, SC, then President of The Law Society of Singapore
- Mr Patrick Tay, then Director of legal Services Department and Professionals, Managers and Executives Unit of the National Trades Union Congress
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