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Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Cases of Non-Payment of Employees’ Salaries

Notice Paper No. 264 of 2013 For The Sitting On 21 Oct 2013
Question No. 1325 For Written Answer

MP: Zainal Sapari

To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower for the past three years (a) how many cases of non-payment of salaries are valid and taken up by the Ministry for follow-up actions; (b) what are the reasons quoted by the employers for the non-payment of salaries; (c) how does the Ministry help workers recover their unpaid salaries; and (d) what is the success rate in getting employers to pay what is due to the workers.


  1. Workers can file salary claims with the Commissioner for Labour. The Commissioner will inquire into the case and determine the amount that the employer has to pay if the claim is valid.
  2. The Commissioner for Labour has inquired into a total of some 3,800 salary claims, between 2010 and 2012. In about three-quarters of these cases, the employers made payment to their workers.
  3. In the remaining one quarter, the employers did not pay up. Workers in such a situation can enforce the payment by way of writ of seizure and sale through the Subordinate Courts. This process does not require them to engage a lawyer. MOM officers will facilitate the process by advising workers on the procedures involved, and helping them prepare the necessary documents. However, most of these defaulting employers were small companies in financial difficulty or which had ceased operations.
  4. Let me also stress that every worker has the right to be paid in full and on time. MOM has tightened our processes and we will send a clear signal to every employer that not paying their workers’ salaries is unacceptable and doing so will attract a consequence, including prosecution actions. Later this year, we will be enhancing the penalties under the Employment Act for errant employers who fail to pay workers’ salaries.