Financial controller fined $10,500 for failing to pay more than $67,000 in salaries

SINGAPORE - A financial controller was fined on Tuesday (Nov 14) for failing to pay more than $67,000 in salaries.

Pang Sor Tin, who was in charge of managing the funds for pre-school Stepping Stones Academy and private school OSAC International College, was fined $10,500.

Investigations found that 10 employees from the two firms were owed salaries totalling more than $67,000, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old woman pleaded guilty to three charges under the Employment Act. Another nine charges were also taken into consideration during sentencing.

The Singaporean, who was manager of Stepping Stones Academy, was responsible for managing the firm's funds.

Seven employees, who were members of the Education Services Union (ESU), had sought the union's assistance for payment of their final month's salaries.

In October last year, ESU reported the matter to MOM. The Assistant Commissioner for Labour then ordered that $51,845.60 be paid to the seven employees.

Stepping Stones failed to comply with the order by the stipulated date and the ministry started investigations.

Although Pang eventually arranged for the firm to make payments under the order, MOM continued its investigation. In May this year, the ministry charged Pang with seven counts of failing to pay the total salaries to these workers on their last day of employment.

Pang, who was also the financial controller of OSAC International College, was in charge of providing funds to pay the salaries of its employees. Three OSAC employees were not paid their salaries in February and March this year, prompting MOM to act on the complaints and investigate the company in April.

Although Pang later arranged for OSAC to make payments, the ministry continued its investigation. In September, she was charged with five counts of failing to pay salaries within the stipulated deadline.

Stepping Stones and its directors Poh Ching Yee and Ong Ah Choo, as well as OSAC and its director Pang Yee Teck, have been prohibited from applying for or renewing the work passes of foreign workers.

Under the Employment Act, a person who fails to pay salaries within stipulated deadlines can be fined up to $15,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both, per charge.

On the case, Mr Raymond Tan, director of the MOM's Employment Standards Enforcement, said: "Employees' chances of salary recovery are higher if they (make a) report early. In fact, in these two cases, all affected employees managed to recover their salaries in full."

Employees who are owed salaries should approach MOM, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management, or their unions for assistance.