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Singapore sees increase in foreign workers salary disputes

Salary 1

Singapore: Around 4,500 foreign workers had sought help of the government to resolve salary disputes against their employers last year, an increase of 25 per cent from their corresponding number in 2013.

More and more foreign workers in Singapore were complaining about salary disputes against their employers, The Sunday Times reported.

The Ministry of Manpower said around 4,500 foreign workers had sought its help to resolve salary disputes last year compared to about 3,600 in 2013.

As of this month, the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) has received about 2,000 complaints regarding late or withheld salary payments and unfair deductions.

About 60 per cent of the complaints were related to unfair deductions and late or withheld payments.

The ministry has stepped up efforts to help these foreign workers in salary dispute, resulting in more awareness among them and the increase in the number of complains.

The initiatives include roadshows to explain to the foreign workers on their employment rights in Singapore.

As for August last year, Singapore had 1.32 million foreign workers, mostly from India, Bangladesh, China and South East Asia working in the construction and marine sectors.

MWC executive director Bernard Menon said, “The numbers (of complains) were increasing but they have hovered around (4,000) in the past three years.”

“More workers with problems will approach us when word gets around (the community) that we can help them get their money back,” Menon said.

Only one in three migrant workers was paid correctly and could check his income against a detailed pay slip, according to a survey by Transient Workers Count Two (TWC2) conducted last year.

But from next year, employers must issue itemised pay slips and provide written key employment terms to prevent salary disputes, the ministry said.

The ministry has also reminded employers of their legal responsibility and moral obligation to ensure that workers’ salaries are paid on time.

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