SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) acted against 645 employers for salary-related offences last year, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Monday.
It also prosecuted 49 employers for severe breaches of salary payment obligations - four times more than in 2013, said Mr Lim in Parliament.
"MOM has stepped up our enforcement efforts since 2014," he said, adding that MOM now investigates every salary-related claim.
"We take a particularly serious view of employers who wilfully refuse to pay."
Mr Lim said that recent amendments to the Employment Act last year mean that employers now face higher penalties if they fail to pay their employees' salaries.
The ministry also introduced mandatory minimum fines and higher maximum fines for both first-time and repeat offenders.
"At the same time, we enhanced MOM's enforcement and investigatory powers, granting employment inspectors the power to arrest any person believed to be guilty of failing to pay salary, as well as the power to enter workplaces to conduct inspections," he said.
Mr Lim was replying to a question by Mr Hri Kumar (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) on whether MOM will consider stronger sanctions against employers who fail to pay, or wrongfully withhold wages to their employees.
"We urge workers who have not been paid their salaries or feel that their wages have been wrongfully withheld to come forward early to MOM or their unions for assistance," said Mr Lim.