By Gloria James-Civetta

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Areas of Representation

Ministry of Manpower Offences

6 min read

The Employment Agencies Act regulates all employment agency-related activities in Singapore. Under s 6, the Act regulates job placements by companies both in and outside Singapore for employment in or outside Singapore.

Our criminal representation lawyers possess comprehensive knowledge of the law in this area and have experience in representing both employers and employees in a wide range of matters related to MOM offences.

Situations where the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) can revoke or suspend the license of an Employment Agency (EA)

When the employment agency:

  • Contravenes the Employment Agency Act or the Employment Agency rules
  • Breaches licensing conditions
  • Acts in a manner likely to be detrimental to the interests of its clients
  • Ceases to carry on an employment agency or the activity for which he has been licensed for a continuous period of 6 months
  • Goes into liquidation or is wound up
  • Acts in a manner detrimental to the public interest
  • Has committed a criminal offence
  • Is not a fit and proper person to continue to hold the licence
Common offences under the Act
Offence Maximum fine Maximum imprisonment Conditions
Carrying on employment agency without a licence, s 6(1)/ Failure to comply with order of suspension or revocation, s 12(1) and (2) $80,000 for first conviction
$160,000 for a second or subsequent conviction
2 years for first conviction
4 years for a second or subsequent conviction
Either or both
Furnishing false information, s 22 $15,000 1 year Either or both
Engaging a person who does not have a licence, 22A(1) $5,000 for each employee engaged through that person
Making an application to the Controller of Work Passes on behalf of a person without a license, s 22B(1) $80,000 for first conviction
$160,000 for a second or subsequent conviction
2 years for first conviction
4 years for a second or subsequent conviction
Either or both
Employment of Foreign Manpower Act

The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act covers regulations and enforcement for work passes and other offences. It covers any person issued a work pass by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Such work passes include Employment Pass, S Pass and Work Permits.

Common offences
Offence Fine Imprisonment Conditions
Employing a foreign employee that does not have a valid work pass, s 5(1) Between $5,000 and $30,000 for first conviction
Between $10,000 and $30,000 for second and subsequent conviction of an individual
Between $20,000 and $60,000 for second and subsequent conviction when accused is not an individual
Maximum 1 year for first conviction
Between 1 month and 1 year for second and subsequent conviction
Either or both for first conviction
Both for second and subsequent conviction
Being a self-employed foreigner without a valid work pass, s 10(1) Maximum $20,000 for first conviction
Maximum $20,000 for second and subsequent conviction
Maximum 2 years for first conviction
Between 1 month and 2 years for second and subsequent conviction
Either or both
Both
Contravening any condition of a work pass, s 22(1)(a) Maximum $10,000 Maximum 1 year Either or both
Making a false statement or providing false information in any application or renewal of a work pass, s 22(1)(d) $80,000 for first conviction
$160,000 for a second or subsequent conviction
2 years for first conviction
4 years for a second or subsequent conviction
Either or both
Receiving money in connection with an employment of a foreign employee, s 22A(1) Maximum $30,000 Maximum 2 years Either or both
Obtaining a work pass for a foreign employee for a business that does not exist, or is not in operation or does not require the employment of the foreign employee, s 22B Maximum $30,000 Maximum 2 years Either or both
Workplace Safety and Health Act

The Workplace Safety and Health Act covers all workplaces. Under s 5 of the Act, this means any premises where a person is at work or is to work, and it includes factories.
Under s 2 of the Act, the Act extends to employees, self-employed people and temporary or ad-hoc workers.

Duties of employers

S 12 of the Act imposes on employers a duty to take all reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their employees and other people who may be affected by their activities in the workplace.

These measures include:

  • Providing and maintaining a work environment that is safe and adequate as regards the facilities and arrangements for the welfare of people at work
  • Ensuring that adequate safety measures are taken in respect of equipment, machinery and processes
  • Ensuring that people at work are not exposed to hazards arising our of things in or near their workplace
  • Developing and implementing procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise
  • Ensuring that people at work have adequate instructions and training for them to perform their work.
Penalty for breaching employer’s duties

The penalty for a first conviction is a maximum fine of $200,000 and/or a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.

If the contravention continues, a natural person will be subject to a maximum fine of $2,000 for every day the offence continues, while a corporation will be subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 for every day the offence continues.

For a second and subsequent conviction where his offence causes death, a natural person may be subject to a maximum fine of $400,000, and a maximum of $2,000 for every day the offence continues. A corporation will be subject to a maximum fine of $1 million, and a maximum fine of $5,000 for every day the offence continues.

Work Injury Compensation Act

The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) covers all employees except:

    • Members of the Singapore Armed Forces;
    • Officers of the Singapore Police Force, the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the Central Narcotics Bureau or the Singapore Prisons Service; and
    • Domestic workers.
Instances where the employer is liable to pay compensation

S 3 of the Act stipulates that an employer is liable to pay compensation to an employee if personal injury by accident is caused to an employee, where the accident:

      • Happens while the employee is travelling as a passenger to or from his workplace with the express or implied permission of his employer and the means of transport is operated by or on behalf of his employer
      • Happens while the employee is in or about any premises at which he is employed for the purposes of his employer’s trade or business, and he was taking steps to rescue or protect persons where are possibly injured, or to avert or minimise damage or loss to property
      • Arises out of and in the course of employment. This even if the employee was contravening a law, a regulation, an order given by or on behalf of his employer, or if he was acting without instructions from his employer, as long as the accident would have still occurred if the employee did not contravene any of the above or act without instructions, and it was done for the purposes and in connection with the employer’s trade or business
Types of compensation that can be claimed

Under the Act, an employee can claim as compensation:

      • Medical leave wages
      • Medical expenses
      • Lump sum compensation
WICA vs. common law

For WICA, proof of fault or negligence is not needed, unlike under common law.
The amount of compensation given under WICA and the common law also differs. Under WICA, the amount on compensation is based on a formula and has set limits. Under common law, there are no limits on compensation amount, but damages need to be proven before the court.
However, if an employee makes a claim under WICA, he cannot make a claim for the same injury under common law. Therefore, a choice must be made at the start as to which course of action to take.

Common offences
Offence Maximum Fine Maximum Imprisonment Conditions
Failure to pay compensation in accordance with the Act, s 35(2)(a) $10,000 1 year Either or both
Knowingly making a false statement or furnishing false information, s 35(2)(c) $5,000 6 months Either or both
Fraudulently making a false claim for compensation, s 35(2)(f) $15,000 1 year Either or both

What can we do for you?

Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our criminal representation lawyers at 6337 0469 or email us at consult@gjclaw.com.sg

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