We refer to the letters by Mr Cheng Choon Fei (Tactics to avoid paying workers overtime are deceitful; June 23) and Mr Tan Kar Quan (Overtime pay tied to salary, less to job title; June 27).
Under our employment laws, an employee is entitled to overtime pay when two key criteria are met.
First, he must not be employed in a managerial or executive position. Second, his basic pay must be $4,500 or less if he is a workman or $2,500 or less if he is a non-workman.
If the employee is statutorily entitled to overtime pay, the rate payable must be at least 11/2 times his hourly basic rate of pay if the overtime work is required by the employer. Overtime payment cannot be substituted with time off.
The Ministry of Manpower takes a serious view of employers who misclassify employees in order to avoid their statutory obligations, and will take stern action against such errant employers.
The incidence of misclassification has been consistently low in relation to other complaints.
Last year, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) received about 50 claims from workers who felt that they had been wrongly classified as a manager or executive and unlawfully denied statutory entitlements such as overtime pay.
This constituted less than 1 per cent of all cases received by TADM.
In handling such misclassification cases, the employee's job title is not a relevant factor.
Rather, each case is assessed individually based on the specific scope of the job, such as the level of authority and decision-making powers in the management of business functions, recruitment, discipline, termination of employment and staff performance and reward.
In about 90 per cent of the 50 claims last year, MOM/TADM found the worker's complaint to be substantiated and ordered the employers to make due compensation.
Employees who have been improperly classified as a manager or executive should come forward to TADM as soon as possible to allow a proper assessment to be made.
Then Yee Thoong
Labour Relations and Workplaces Division
Ministry of Manpower