A 51-year-old Singaporean employer, Razalee Bin Rasdi (Razalee), was convicted in the State Courts yesterday of failing to pay salaries amounting to $7,450.40 to his foreign domestic worker (FDW), as required under the Work Permit Conditions1.
Razalee also did not maintain a proper salary payment record to document the monthly salaries paid to his FDW. He was further convicted of illegal employment, as he continued to employ his FDW after the Work Permit was revoked by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) due to levy default.
In total, Razalee faced 23 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) (Chapter 91A):
• Six charges for non-payment of salary (Fine $2,000 per charge)
• One charge for failure to maintain a proper salary record (Fine $1,000)
• One charge for illegal employment against the accused (Fine $8,000)
• The remaining 15 charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing
Razalee was fined a total of $21,000 (in default 105 days’ imprisonment) by the Court. MOM has also barred him from hiring FDWs.
On 11 June 2013, Razalee’s Indonesian FDW, Umi Kholifah, lodged a complaint with MOM that her employer had not been paying her salary. Investigations revealed Razalee failed to pay his worker in full for her employment from February 2010 to May 2013, and the arrears amounted to $7,450.40.
Additionally, Razalee infringed the Work Permit Conditions by failing to maintain a proper record of the monthly salary paid to the FDW. During investigations, he was unable to produce any record showing the breakdown of salary payments.
Razalee also defaulted on his monthly FDW levy payments, which led to the revocation of his FDW’s Work Permit on 1 February 2012. Although Razalee was aware that the Work Permit for his FDW had been revoked, he continued to employ her to perform household chores at his residence without a valid work pass until May 2013, and thus committed an illegal employment offence.
The FDW is now placed with a new employer. Razalee paid the salary arrears in full to her after the case was brought before the State Courts.
MOM takes Errant FDW Employers to Task
In a similar case on 8 April 2014, a 34-year-old FDW employer, Rafidah Bte Rahmat, pleaded guilty to 16 charges for failure to pay salaries amounting to $2,944.67 to her FDW, and to a charge of failure to maintain a proper salary record. She was fined a total of $7,000 (in default five weeks’ imprisonment), for the five charges that the prosecution proceeded on. The FDW has since been paid the salaries owed to her.
In the first-half of 2014, three employers were convicted of not paying their FDWs’ salaries. In 2013 and 2012, five and 12 employers were convicted of the same offence respectively, and were fined up to $7,000.
Employers Must Pay FDWs’ Salaries Promptly
FDW employers must ensure prompt payment of salaries to their FDWs at least once every month. Employers who fail to do so commit an offence under Section 22(1)(a) of the EFMA, and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine of up to $10,000 and / or imprisonment of up to 12 months. In addition, employing foreigners without valid work passes is an illegal employment offence under Section 5(1) of the EFMA, and offenders can be fined a minimum of $5,000 up to $30,000, and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months.
MOM often receives requests for assistance with recovery of salary from FDWs whose salaries are "safe kept" by their employers. This practice often creates misgivings and disputes. Employers should refrain from "safekeeping" in part or full the salaries of their workers. Employers should also maintain a record of the monthly salary paid to their FDWs and obtain the written acknowledgement of their workers.
1. The employer shall pay the salary due to the foreign employee not later than seven days after the last day of the salary period.
Source information taken from https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2014/employer-fined-12000-for-defaulting-on-foreign-domestic-workers-salary