6th FDW employer fined in the first seven months of 2012
A 40-year-old Singaporean foreign domestic worker (FDW) employer, Toh E-Yeong, was sentenced in the Subordinate Courts on 31 July 2012 for 10 charges of failing to pay his two FDWs salaries punctually, as required under the Work Permit Conditions.
Further, Toh continued to employ his FDWs when their permits were revoked due to levy defaults.
The court proceeded on one charge for non-payment of salary and one charge for illegal employment against Toh, with the remaining charges taken into consideration for sentencing purposes. Toh was sentenced to a total fine of $4,170 or in default 22 days’ jail by the court.
Employers are Responsible for Paying FDWs their Salaries Promptly
It is the responsibility of FDW employers to ensure prompt payment of their FDWs’ salaries every month. The Work Permit Condition prescribes that the employer must pay the salary of his/her foreign employee not later than seven (7) days after the last day of the salary period.
5 Employers who fail to do so commit an offence under Section 22(1)(a) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), and shall be liable upon conviction, per month of late or unpaid salary, to a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to six months or to both.
FDWs Reported Non-Payment of Salary to MOM
On 1 July 2011, Toh’s two FDWs, Jocelyn and Joessel, lodged complaints at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that their employer had not been paying them due salaries over many months. MOM officers immediately followed-up on the case.
Investigations revealed that Toh was well aware of the salary condition imposed on him as an FDW employer. Investigations also found that Toh had not paid salaries amounting to $1,264.50 to his FDW Jocelyn for a period of nearly seven months from September 2010 to May 2011. Toh also failed to pay salaries amounting to $1,098.30 to his second FDW Joessel for three months from February to May 2011.
Defaulting on Levy Payments, FDWs Work Permits Revoked
Toh also defaulted on his monthly FDW levy payments, which led to the revocation of the work permits of his two FDWs on 1 June 2011. However, he continued to hire the FDWs, who were without valid work permits, to work for him from 1 to 30 June 2011 at his residence. For illegally employing the two FDWs, Toh violated Section 5(1) of the EFMA and was charged accordingly.
Employers who commit an offence under Section 5(1) of the EFMA shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $15,000 or imprisonment of up to twelve months or to both.
Six Cases of Salary Non-payment So Far in 2012
Toh became the sixth FDW employer to be convicted this year, joining five other FDW employers who were earlier convicted by the court in the first half of 2012 for failing to pay their FDWs’ salaries on time. The salary arrears amounted from $997 to $5,332. Please refer to Annex A for details of employers convicted in 2012.
From 2009 to 2011, 28 employers have been convicted for breaching the Work Permit Conditions of not paying their FDWs’ salaries promptly. They were fined in a range between $800 and $5,000. The highest penalty so far had been a one-week jail term for an FDW employer convicted in December 2011.
Advisory from MOM
MOM advises all FDW employers to abide by the Work Permit Condition to pay their FDWs’ salaries promptlyi.e. no later than seven (7) days after the last day of the salary period. FDW employers must make arrangements to pay the salaries on time, and are urged to manage their monthly finance and cash flow situation carefully to comply with the Work Permit Conditions. Also, the Work Permit conditions require employers to maintain a record of the monthly salary paid to the FDW, and both the employer and FDW are strongly encouraged to endorse the record each time there is a payment.
To safeguard the FDWs’ well-being, MOM ensures that FDWs understand their right to receive salaries promptly through the Settling-In Programme (SIP) that all first-time FDWs are required to attend. During the SIP, FDWs are informed of their employment rights including the prompt receipt of their salaries and the avenues through which they may seek help in the event of salary disputes.
Likewise, all first-time FDW employers are also informed of their legal obligations to pay FDWs their salaries on time through the Employer Orientation Programme (EOP) and the FDW Employers Handy Guide.