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Financial controller convicted for failing to pay more than $67,000 in salaries

  1. A 53-year-old Singaporean woman, Pang Sor Tin (“Pang”) (方素珍), was convicted in the State Courts on 14 November 2017 of three charges under the Employment Act. 
  2. Investigations across the two companies revealed that 10 local employees were owed salaries totalling more than $67,000. The accused pleaded guilty to three charges and was fined $10,500. Another nine charges were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing.

    About the Cases
  3. Pang was a manager of Stepping Stones Academy Pte. Ltd. (“Stepping Stones”), and was responsible for managing the funds of the company. Seven employees of Stepping Stones, who were members of the Education Services Union (ESU), sought the assistance of ESU for payment of their final month’s salaries. In October 2016, ESU assisted the employees to report the matter to MOM. The Assistant Commissioner for Labour1 ordered that $51,845.60 be paid to the seven employees. Stepping Stones failed to comply with the order by the stipulated date and MOM commenced investigations thereafter. Although Pang eventually arranged for Stepping Stones to make payments under the order, MOM continued its investigation and in May 2017, charged Pang with seven counts of failing to pay the total salaries due to these employees on their last day of employment, under the Employment Act. 
  4. Pang was also the Financial Controller of OSAC International College Pte. Ltd. (“OSAC”). She was in charge of providing funds to pay the salaries of OSAC employees. Three OSAC employees were not paid their salaries in February and March 2017. MOM acted on complaints and investigated the company in April 2017. Although Pang eventually arranged for OSAC to make payments to these employees, MOM continued its investigation. In September 2017, Pang was charged with five counts of failing to pay salaries within the stipulated deadline, under the Employment Act. 
  5. In addition to the conviction of Pang:
    (a) Stepping Stones and its directors Poh Ching Yee and Ong Ah Choo; and
    (b) OSAC and its director Pang Yee Teck
    have been debarred from applying for or renewing the work passes of foreign workers.

    Penalties
  6. Under the Employment Act, the failure to pay salaries within the stipulated deadlines, can attract a fine of up to $15,000, or imprisonment for up to six months, or to both, per charge.

    Advisory from MOM 
  7. Commenting on the case, Mr Raymond Tan Choon Guan, Director of Employment Standards Enforcement (陈俊源, 人力部雇佣标准执法处处长) said, “Employees’ chances of salary recovery are higher if they report early. In fact, in these two cases, all affected employees managed to recover their salaries in full. MOM will also not hesitate to prosecute employers who refuse to comply with the orders of the Assistant Commissioner for Labour, when they have the means to do so.”
  8. Employees who are owed salaries should approach MOM, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (“TADM”), or their unions for assistance.
  9. Anyone who know of persons or employers who contravene the Employment Act should report the matter to MOM at 1800-221-9922 or email workright@mom.gov.sg. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

FOOTNOTE

  1. Since 1 Apr 2017, statutory and contractual salary-related claims have come under the Employment Claims Tribunals.
Last Updated: 29 November 2017