Saturday, 29 September 2012

Workers, know your rights

Manpower Ministry and CPF Board ramp up education and enforcement
By Janice Heng, The Straits Times, 28 Sep 2012

The campaign, which begins tomorrow, has the slogan: "I know my employment rights, I do it right." It is jointly organised by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. In a press statement yesterday, the ministry and the CPF Board said workers will be taught their rights, and employers their legal obligation, as stated in the Employment Act and CPF Act.

Topics include payment of CPF contributions, punctual payment of salary, giving paid annual and medical leave, and keeping to working-hour requirements.



The two agencies say public education is important as some workers may not be aware of the "significant amounts they stand to lose" if they opt out of CPF contributions in order to have a higher take-home pay. These include government Workfare benefits for low-income workers, and top-ups to their CPF Medisave accounts.


Labour MP Ang Hin Kee said that low-income workers worried about day-to-day expenses may prefer a larger cash component.

"Unscrupulous employers" might take advantage of this to strike an agreement to pay more cash but no CPF, he added.

Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin posted on the ministry's blog yesterday: "While most employers are responsible, there are some who continue to flout the law, hoping to benefit from short-term gains."

The ministry and the CPF Board are thus ramping up not only education efforts, but enforcement too, the minister wrote.

In May, it was announced that the two agencies will be stepping up their checks on employers starting from November.

The number of employer audits a year will go up to 5,000, compared to 500 now. Greater attention will be paid to industries where non-compliance is higher. These include food and beverage, retail, security and cleaning industries.

Wrote Mr Tan: "A progressive workplace and fair work practices ensure that employers are responsible and our employees, particularly low-wage workers, are not short-changed."

The public can call 1800-221-9922 or e-mail workright@mom.gov.sg to report errant employers.

For more information, go to www.mom.gov.sg/workright

The identities of informants will be kept confidential.

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