Two Private Security Agencies Charged Under Employment Act For Requiring Security Officers To Work Excessive Hours
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has charged two private security agencies, Erawan Security Services Pte Ltd (Erawan Security) and Volantra Security Pte Ltd (Volantra Security), under the Employment Act (EA) for requiring their security officers to work excessive hours.
2 MOM mounted enforcement operations from April to August 2021 and inspected close to 200 private security agencies for EA compliance, in particular, working hours and overtime limits. The majority of agencies inspected were compliant with the EA, with around 36% of agencies found to have breaches. While most were minor breaches, MOM is taking action against 15 private security agencies for deploying their security officers beyond the permissible working hour limits.
3 Errant employers found to be flouting provisions under Part IV of the EA, which provides for rest days, limits on hours of work and other conditions of service, may be prosecuted and fined up to $5,000 for each offence. On conviction of the second and subsequent offence, the employer can be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
4 MOM’s enforcement operations revealed that security officers from Erawan Security and Volantra Security had worked back-to-back shifts on multiple occasions between February and March 2021. These security officers had regularly worked between 17 and 20 hours in a day on those occasions.
5 Under the law, private security agencies must not deploy their security officers to work beyond 12 hours in a day, unless the exceptions stated in the EA are applicable.
Sustained Efforts to Improve Wages and Well-Being of Security Officers
6 There have been concerted efforts by tripartite partners to improve the wages and well-being of security officers since the formation of the Security Tripartite Cluster in 2013 and the implementation of the Progressive Wage Model for the security sector in 2016. In November 2017, the Government accepted recommendations from the Security Tripartite Cluster – comprising representatives from the unions, employers, services buyers and the Government – to remove overtime exemption for the security sector from January 2021. From 1 January 2021, the security industry was no longer exempted from the EA Part IV limits of 72 overtime hours per month. This is expected to reduce the overtime hours worked by security officers and improve their well-being.
MOM Takes Stern Action Against Errant Employers
7 MOM’s Director of Employment Standards Enforcement Department, Ms Christine Loh said, “The Ministry of Manpower is committed to safeguarding the welfare of all workers. As we continue to educate employees on their rights, we will also carry out regular site inspections and take stern action against errant employers found to be flouting the law. Security agencies should refer to the Tripartite Advisory on Ensuring Sustainability of Security Sector in View of COVID-19 to plan ahead, and leverage technology-enabled solutions to optimise manpower.”
8 Anyone with information on EA infringements should report the matter to MOM at www.mom.gov.sg/report-ea-violation. All information will be kept strictly confidential. Information on employment rights can be found at www.mom.gov.sg/workright .