On 12 September 2017, a Singaporean woman, Li Jun (“Li”) was convicted in the State Courts for failing to pay salaries to her foreign domestic worker. She was fined $15,000 in default six weeks’ imprisonment.
On 15 August 2017, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged Li with 13 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) for failing to pay monthly salaries totalling about $5,700 to her foreign domestic worker (‘FDW’). Li pleaded guilty to three charges, with the remaining ten charges taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. MOM has also barred her from hiring any FDW.
Investigations revealed Li did not pay her FDW her monthly salary of $420 between 7 March 2016 and 21 February 2017.
The accused made full payment to her FDW on 7 September 2017.
Employers must pay salaries promptly
Ms Jeanette Har, Director, Well-Being Department at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said, “The FDWs rely on their monthly salary to support their families back home and we should not deprive them of their salaries. Employers are required by law to pay their FDWs on time, every month. To ensure timely payments, one option is for employers to arrange for scheduled bank transfers. We will take strong enforcement actions against employers who do not pay FDWs their salaries.”
In accordance to the Work Permit conditions, an FDW must be paid no later than seven days after the last day of the salary period. Each salary period cannot exceed one month. Employers must also maintain a monthly salary record paid to their FDWs, and to obtain written acknowledgement from their FDWs.
Employers can check with the FDW if she prefers to have a personal bank account for her salary to be paid through direct transfer. If the FDW requests for her salary to be paid via her own bank account, the employer must do so and ensure that the FDW keeps her own bank book and ATM card.
In addition, employers should not keep the FDW’s salaries on her behalf, and/or make this arrangement as a condition for her employment. Employers should decline any request from their FDWs to help them save their salaries.
FDWs should seek help early
If an FDW has not received her salary on time, she should remind her employer about it. If the problem persists and her employer does not settle the salary arrears, the FDW should report the matter to MOM or seek assistance from her employment agency. This is to prevent the arrears from accumulating and to enable MOM to investigate into the matter. Those with valid salary claims will also be allowed to change employers if they so wish.
Should the public know of any FDW who has not been paid her salaries, they should report the matter to MOM at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6438 5122. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Source information taken from https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2017/0913-employer-fined-for-not-paying-salaries-to-her-foreign-domestic-worker