Measures in place to deal with errant employers, help workers

We agree with Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng that errant employers who do not pay their workers should be taken to task (Make S'pore a better place for foreign workers; Feb 16). Failure to pay salaries could result in employers being fined up to $15,000 and/or jailed for up to six months.

Today, our laws also require employers of work permit holders to pay salaries electronically if the workers make this request.

We will be stepping up efforts to create awareness among foreign workers that if their employers fail to do so after such a request is made, they should report it to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

MOM takes a tough enforcement stance against employers who wilfully fail to pay salaries to their workers, regardless of the mode of salary payment.

The ministry and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management have assisted more than 3,500 workers to recover their salary arrears, from April 1 to Dec 31 last year.

MOM already imposes travel restrictions on serious offenders who pose high flight risk, even as it investigates the offences under Singapore's employment laws.

The instances of employers absconding before paying owed salaries are therefore very low. In most instances, the employer had already absconded before the claimant lodged a claim with MOM.

This underscores the importance of reporting owed salaries as soon as possible. Early reporting is the best thing that foreign workers can do to improve their chances of recovering their salaries.

Then Yee Thoong

Divisional Director, Labour Relations and Workplaces Division

Ministry of Manpower

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2018, with the headline 'Measures in place to deal with errant employers, help workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe