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Employer took responsibility for injured worker's well-being even though he ran away

A TWC2 article recounted the experience of foreign worker Sumon who had sustained a work injury. It claimed that his employer had cancelled his medical appointment for 28 June 2017 and tried to forcibly repatriate him to avoid paying upkeep costs. These are false allegations by TWC2.

Claim: Sumon’s employer had cancelled his medical appointment
Fact: We had verified with the hospital that Sumon’s appointment for 28 June 2017 was not cancelled. Hospital records indicated him as a “no-show”. Despite this, the employer continued to arrange and paid for his medical appointments in July, September and October. The doctors had since assessed Sumon’s condition and awarded him 4% permanent incapacity (PI). A Notice of Assessment was issued on 26 Oct 2017 with a compensation amount of $4,662.17.

Claim: Sumon’s employer had tried to forcibly repatriate him
Fact: Sumon’s employer had started the process of applying to renew his work permit on 2 June. The employer had sent him for a medical examination and obtained a security bond on 28 June 2017 to support the renewal application. While his application was being processed, Sumon told his employer on 30 June that he wanted to return home. His employer bought an air ticket for him for 1 July but Sumon ran away. He was not detained or forcibly sent to the airport by the employer.

Sumon knew that his work permit was being renewed, and had signed the work pass renewal form on 21 June 2017. Although Sumon ran away, his employer cancelled his work permit only after receiving a letter from his lawyer asking them to apply for a Special Pass for him.

Claim: Sumon’s employer had the intention to avoid paying for Sumon’s upkeep
Fact: Even after Sumon ran away, his employer continued to take responsibility for his well-being. His employer had offered to continue providing accommodation and food, but Sumon chose to stay outside. He had verified in a signed statement that he did not have any issues with his employer.

We take work injury claims and allegations of forced repatriation seriously

In 2016, over 99.9% of injured workers had their cases successfully resolved. MOM will prosecute errant employers under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) for non-insurance and non-compensation of work injury. MOM can also debar the companies and individual directors from hiring foreign workers until they compensate their workers. In the last five years, 14 employers have been prosecuted and debarred for such violations.

We will also prosecute employers who forcibly repatriate their foreign workers to prevent any statutory claims, or do not pay for the upkeep of their injured foreign workers while their injury claims are processed.

Foreign workers who need help with work injury claims or are subjected to forced repatriation can call MOM at 6438 5122 or email mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg, the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) at 6536 2692 or their respective embassies/high commissions. They can also alert ICA officers at the immigration checkpoints.

Members of the public who have any information on errant employers should report them to MOM at the contact details above. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

The events in this case happened over four months before this article was published. TWC2 had ample time to highlight any of the issues raised in the article to MOM for investigations through dedicated channels we have established with NGOs on foreign worker well-being issues. Instead, TWC2 again chose to focus on publishing another article that contains untruths and one-sided accounts. The reality is not the situation that TWC2 had painted. This is not truthful advocacy and we urge TWC2 to play a more constructive role in helping foreign workers.