Singaporeans are known as hard workers. They drive themselves towards excellent work ethics, however there are abusive employers who will take advantage of employees who don’t know their rights and privileges. Do not be a victim. Know the law to protect yourself.
Last June 2, the Central Provident Fund (CPF)Board revealed the acquisition of S$516 million from 360,000 employers who made late payments, underpaid and did not pay their employees’ CPF. The S$15.2 million of the total amount came from 1,840 employers who underpaid or didn’t pay. The rest is from those who paid late.
According to the CPF Board, it understands that most of the late payments were due to cash flow issues and most of the employers actually paid within a month. Only 36 employers has been convicted, which is a lower count compared to the 46 convicted employers in 2014. This year recorded the largest sum of reclaimed CPF since 2011.
On May 10, 2016, the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said in a press release that Dr. Wong Him Choon of Raffles Hospital had intentionally done a misconduct which is below the standard of their profession. Last Sep 3, 2011, a construction worker with a distal radius fracture and a metacarpal fracture was brought to Dr. Wong for a surgery. By September 7, the doctor gave a certification to the patient saying he was fit to work on the same day the surgery was done. Then, on Sep 11, 2011, the patient complained of pain and was hospitalized in Changi General Hospital for 19 days. Dr. Wong also made a backdated medical certificate dated from September 6 to November 20, 2011. The doctor was suspended for 6 months by the High Court.
A video clip showing Encore eServices manager Lee Yew Nam, 44, shouting and punching his employee Mr. Calvin Chan Meng Hock, 31, had cause a public uproar. Mr. Lee pleaded guilty to the four charges filed against him.
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The Employment Act is Singapore’s main labour law. This act covers employees who are under the contract of service, though there are exertions such as the managers, executives and those under the Part IV of the Act. Remember that this only applies to employer-employee relationship and not the client-contractor type of relationship.
4 Common Misconducts Employers Do Against Employment Act
- Employers withhold CPF Contributions
The CPF is a mandatory social security savings scheme funded by contributions from employers and employees. This is the key pillar of the country’s social security system which is used to meet the retirement, housing and healthcare needs of every qualified working and retired Singaporeans. The government also funds the seniors’ Medisave and the grants for low wage earners in the CPF under the Workfare schemes. The monthly contributions are divided into three accounts which are the Special Account for the retirement needs, Ordinary Account for retirement and housing needs and Medisave Account for health care needs.
Do not just rely on your pay slip saying your CPF contributions have been paid, learn to log in to your account and check them yourself in cpf.gov.sg.
- Employers Don’t Give Employment Contracts
A contract of service defines the employer-employee relationship, including the terms and conditions of employment. The contract must show that a person agrees to employ another person as an employee, and employee agrees to serve the employer. The agreement can be verbal or implied, but to avoid future disputes, the contract must be in writing with clear terms.
The Employment Act will only apply if the employer-employee relationship actually started or took place and the service length of the employee will be calculated from the first day work and not on the date of contract signing. The contract is legally binding.
For the employees, the contract gives them the security that they have clearly defined obligations and agreement. On the other hand, the employer has the security that the employee knows the obligation and agrees by the term stated on the contract.
- Employers Do Not Give Appropriate Leaves and OT Pay
Parts IV specifically covers full-time workers in the private sector, earning not more than $2,500 and are not managers or executives, or workmen earning not more than $4,500. If they work more than 44 hours, the excess hours must be paid as overtime. The overtime must be paid with 1.5 hours of the basic rate. Each employee must have one rest day in a week and 11 paid public holidays in a year.
If the employee has worked for more than 3 months, he or she is entitled for a paid annual leave. If the employee has worked a year, he or she must have a paid 7 days leave on which 1 day will be added in every succeeding year the employee has worked for the company.
Also, under the employment act, employees who have worked more than three months are entitled of a sick leave as long as they informed or tried to inform the employer within 48 hours of absence. The sick leave must be certified by the company’s doctor, company approved doctor, or government doctor.
- Employers Withhold Salaries
No employer should withhold the salary of an employee longer than 7 days after the salary period. There is no minimum wage, it will depend on the agreement between the employer and the employee.
The government acknowledges the need to create public awareness with regards to the Employment Act to prevent employers from exploiting their employees, thus WorkRight has been created. WorkRight seeks to raise national compliance with the Employment Act and the CPF Act. WorkRight focuses on the CPF contributions, salaries, leaves and the adherence to working hours.
Should you experience unfair working conditions, report any violation. Do not hesitate to call 1800 221 9922 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Expect your identity to be held anonymous.
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