Singaporean fined $15,000 for not paying maid for almost a year

The worker was owed salaries of $420 a month, as well as rest-day allowances.
The worker was owed salaries of $420 a month, as well as rest-day allowances.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean woman has been fined $15,000 for failing to pay her foreign domestic worker for almost a year. The owed salaries totalled about $5,700.

Li Jun, 30, was convicted in the State Courts on Tuesday (Sept 12).

If she defaults on the fine, she will be jailed for six weeks.

She failed to pay her foreign domestic worker between March 7 last year and Feb 21 this year.

The worker was owed salaries of $420 a month, as well as rest-day allowances.

Last month, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) slapped Li with 13 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

She pleaded guilty to three of the charges, with the remaining 10 taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.

The ministry also barred Li from hiring any foreign domestic worker (FDW). She made the full payment to her worker last Thursday.

Ms Jeanette Har, MOM's Well-Being Department director, said: "The FDWs rely on their monthly salaries to support their families back home, and we should not deprive them of their salaries. We will take strong enforcement action against employers who do not pay FDWs their salaries."

Foreign domestic workers' work permit conditions state that they must be paid no later than seven days after the last day of the salary period, with each period not exceeding one month.

Further, employers must maintain a monthly salary record for the amount paid, and obtain written acknowledgement from their workers. It is an offence if they fail to do any of these.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said that "employers should not keep the FDW's salaries on her behalf, and/or make this arrangement as a condition for her employment".

The statement added that employers should decline any request from their FDWs to help them save their salaries.

If a worker requests that her salary be paid through her own bank account, the employer must do so, and ensure that the worker keeps her own bank book and ATM card.

The public can contact MOM at mom-fmmd@mom.gov.sg or call 6438 51222 if they know of any foreign domestic worker who has not been paid her salaries.