Oral Answer by SMS Zaqy Mohamad to PQ on channels for Migrant Workers to seek recourse against their employers who failed to pay their salaries
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1491 OF 2022 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 9 NOVEMBER 2022
QUESTION NO. 3687 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Lim Biow Chuan
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether foreign workers in Singapore have been informed of (i) the available channels to seek recourse against their employers who failed to pay their salaries and (ii) the law against illegal assembly.
1. To help Migrant Workers (MWs) overcome the unfamiliarity of working in a new country, the Ministry of Manpower requires them to attend the Settling-in Programme within 2 weeks of their arrival in Singapore. Conducted in native languages, the SIP educates MWs comprehensively on their employment rights and support channels, as well as on lawful and responsible behaviour, including the law against unlawful assembly or procession in public places.
2. The education of MWs does not stop at the SIP. MOM has developed a comprehensive MW guide, monthly newsletters and various infographics in native languages on topics such as salary payment and channels to seek help. MOM and its partners also routinely disseminate information through online and physical platforms (e.g. FWMOMCare application, social media posts, roadshows and events) to remind MWs of their employment rights and encourage those with employment issues seek help from MOM or the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) for salary claims.
3. MWs with salary arrears may also approach the Forward Assurance and Support Team (FAST) officers or Friends of ACE (FACE) volunteers at their dormitories, or update MOM through the monthly salary survey on the FWMOMCare application. The majority of MWs are registered users of the application. Unions and NGOs, such as the Migrant Workers’ Centre which operates a hotline, are another source of support for MWs and can advise MWs on the avenues of help and work with MOM to render the necessary assistance to MWs.
4. The number of salary claims filed by MWs has come down significantly in recent years. On average in 2022, TADM handles about 160 salary claims from MWs each month compared to 410 in 2019. Nonetheless, we recognise the importance of timely payment of salaries to all workers, and will continue our efforts to arrest salary arrears early and assist all workers, both local and foreign, to promptly recover their owed salaries.