Parliament: 308 cases of workers allegedly classified wrongly in last 3 years

Of the cases, 160 involved workers being misclassified as self-employed. Self-employed people do not receive benefits that employers are legally obliged to provide their workers, like CPF contributions.
Of the cases, 160 involved workers being misclassified as self-employed. Self-employed people do not receive benefits that employers are legally obliged to provide their workers, like CPF contributions.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - On average, about 100 workers were not classified correctly annually in the last three years, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad said in Parliament on Wednesday (May 8).

In total, 308 such alleged cases were received by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board during this period, with 160 cases involving workers being misclassified as self-employed.

Self-employed people do not receive benefits that employers are legally obliged to provide their workers, like CPF contributions.

Mr Zaqy gave the figures in his reply to labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) who had asked if more can be done to punish errant employers who misclassify their workers and educate casual workers who have no fixed working days or hours.

Mr Zaqy said errant companies have been punished with, among other things, warnings and late payment fees.

He also said all but two cases paid the misclassified workers what were due to them, including overtime pay and CPF contributions.

The two were prosecuted, with one of them settling the case out of court while the other is appealing against the conviction.

 
 
 

He said: "Rest assured that MOM and CPF will investigate the cases... to ensure that employers make good their obligations and to pay affected employees what are due to them."

Nominated MP Anthea Ong asked if MOM could do an in-depth study on legal protection for casual workers in other countries in order to develop a framework on the rights and benefits of casual workers in Singapore.

Casual work employees comprise 3.4 per cent of resident employees in 2018, down from 5.1 per cent in 2009.

Mr Zaqy said casual workers are covered by various laws, including the Employment Act and CPF Act.

They are entitled to timely payment of salary, CPF and protection against wrongful dismissal, he said, adding that workers who are employed for at least three months are also entitled to paid annual and sick leave.