More regulations needed to protect workers

Banning rogue employers from setting up new companies may not work because it is common for them to use the name of a spouse, child or sibling to register the company instead ("'Ban errant bosses from starting firms'"; Jan 30).

The law must strike hard at such people by banning their next of kin from setting up companies as well.

To prevent employers from defaulting on wage payments, the law could require the project owner to deduct the workers' salaries from the contractor's payments and place these in an escrow account to be paid promptly to workers.

Employees who work overtime need to record the hours worked so that there is documentation to prove their claims, should they sue the firm for back pay or file a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower if they were cheated out of their salaries.

To this end, the law must ensure that workers use a time clock and employers must give them a certified duplicate copy of the time card, with the authorising signature and company stamp.

The Government has to work with the Legal Aid Bureau to provide these workers with legal aid. Foreign workers must know their rights and the hotline they can call to seek redress.

It must also be made compulsory for employers to buy health insurance. This should be made a requirement in tender documents, especially those issued by government agencies.