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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on monitoring payment modes of salaries to foreign workers living in dormitories

NOTICE PAPER NO. 2135 OF 2020 FOR A SITTING ON OR AFTER 5 JUNE 2020
QUESTION NO. 3668 FOR ORAL ANSWER

MP: Mr Louis Ng


To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) currently, what number and percentage of employers with foreign workers residing in dormitories (i) declared that they will pay salaries electronically (ii) paid salaries electronically and (iii) paid salaries in cash; (b) what specific steps, other than relying on worker complaints, does the Ministry take to monitor employers who are paying salaries in cash are correctly paying their foreign workers residing in dormitories; and (c) what are the exceptional circumstances under which employers are permitted to pay workers residing in dormitories in cash.

Answer

  1. As is the case for all employees whether local or foreign, they must step forward to inform MOM if they have been paid an incorrect salary. It is in their own interest to do so in a timely manner.
  2. Since April 2020, MOM has been requiring employers of foreign workers, especially those with workers staying in the dormitories, to make declarations on the status and mode of salary payment to their workers. This is an additional precaution that MOM has introduced proactively, to track the payment of salaries to foreign workers to intervene early in cases where salaries are owed. We also required employers to pay salaries electronically to ensure that workers can receive their salaries even if they are unable to leave the dormitories.
  3. The vast majority of employers contacted declared to MOM that they would pay April 2020 salaries electronically. A very small number of employers declared that they were unable to do so, citing technical or administrative issues. Such employers were allowed to pay outstanding salaries in cash at dormitories where the risk of COVID-19 transmission was assessed to be low.
  4. MOM is following up on every case in which the employer declared that he owed salaries, or a dormitory worker reported that he was owed salaries. Should workers face any salary issues, they can raise them with the Forward Assurance & Support Team (FAST) officers on the ground, so that MOM can follow up with their employers.