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MOM’s response to TWC2 article “How did 5,000 salary claims a year become 1,400 over five years?”

On 8 Mar 2021, TWC2 published an opinion article highlighting perceived inconsistencies in the presentation of statistical data in Parliament and in the Employment Standards Reports.

Claim: According to the Employment Standards Reports published in the last two years, there were over 5,000 salary claims involving foreign employees a year. This differs from Second Minister for Manpower, Dr Tan See Leng’s Committee of Supply 2021 Parliament speech in paragraph 52, which mentioned that about 1,400 foreign employees were affected over a five-year period from 2015 to 2019.

Fact: Second Minister for Manpower did not underrepresent the number of salary claims affecting foreign employees in Parliament. The two figures stated in the TWC2 article refer to different data sets.

The 1,400 figure which Dr Tan cited referred to the number of foreign employees affected by employers who were taken to task by MOM for not paying their workers the declared salaries to MOM.

On the other hand, the 5,000 figure inferred by TWC2 based on the salary claims incidence rate  in the Employment Standards Reports referred to all the salary disputes lodged by foreign employees at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). For example, this would include cases of miscalculation of salaries where the employers made good of the salary arrears even without any enforcement action by MOM.