Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower & Senior Minister of State, National Development, to Parliamentary Question on Workers who Receive Employers' Compensation After Labour Court Rulings
Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower between 2008 and 2012 (a) how many workers did not receive compensation from their employers after the Labour Court ruled in their favour and what recourse do they have if they are unable to engage their own lawyers to claim these payments in the civil courts; and (b) how many companies have failed to comply with the Labour Court's order and what action can the Ministry take against such errant employers.
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin:
- Between 2008 and 2012, the Labour Court issued a total of about 7,400 Orders for payments in favour of workers. Of these, about three quarters were fully paid and 5% were partially paid. The remaining 20% did not receive payment of the amount ordered. Most of these defaulting companies are small and face financial difficulty or have ceased operations.
- Workers who were awarded payment by the Labour Court and did not receive payment from their employers may enforce the Orders by way of writ of seizure and sale through the Subordinate Courts. This process does not require them to engage a lawyer. MOM officers at the Labour Court facilitate the process by advising workers on the procedures involved, and helping them prepare the necessary documents. However, whether the workers get any payment would depend on whether the companies have any assets left for sale.
- All companies that default on their Labour Court Orders are taken to task. MOM restricts their access to foreign manpower, and, in more egregious cases, MOM will prosecute and charge the employer in court. In the same period, 115 such employers were convicted in court and sentenced to either a court fine or a jail term or both, while another 23 employers were imposed with composition fines.