COVID-19: More work-pass holders, employers punished for flouting LOA rules

(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken action against 10 work-pass holders over a two-week period from 10 to 24 February for breaching the leave of absence (LOA) requirements during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In a media statement on Monday (24 February), the ministry said it has also suspended the work-pass privileges of nine employers during this period. In total, MOM has taken action against 14 work-pass holders and 15 employers since it implemented the LOA measures.

Since 31 January, MOM requires all work-pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China have to serve a mandatory 14-day leave of absence upon their arrival in Singapore.

6 have work passes revoked; 1 visited casino during LOA

Of the 10 work-pass holders caught for flouting LOA requirements, six had their work passes revoked. In two of the cases, both the workers and employers claimed ignorance of the LOA requirements, despite being informed by MOM earlier.

The workers’ work passes were revoked, and they have been permanently banned from employment in Singapore. The employer’s work pass privileges have also been suspended for two years.

One foreign worker had his work pass revoked and permanently banned from employment in Singapore after he was caught visiting a casino.

Three workers did not respond to repeated calls by MOM. The ministry has revoked their work passes and suspended the work pass privileges of two employers for failing to ensure that their workers remain contactable during the LOA period.

Stern warnings for 4 work-pass holders

For the other four work-pass holders, they have been given stern warnings.

The first three cases involved workers on LOA who were instructed by their employers to report to work. The workers were given a warning, while MOM has suspended the work pass privileges of their employers for three years.

The first case involved a worker who approached MOM to lodge a complaint against his employer, freight forwarding firm Element Logistics, after the business development manager instructed him to work.

The second case involved a worker from architecture firm SCDA Design, whose HR manager instructed her to report to office despite her being on LOA.

The third case involved a worker from manufacturing firm Cham Brothers Engineering, whose company director instructed him to work during his LOA.

One other foreign worker was given a stern warning for being out of his residence for a prolonged period of time after his meal.

Checks through inspections, telephone and video calls

MOM said in its statement that it has been conducting regular checks through physical inspections, telephone and video calls as part of ongoing efforts to ensure that work pass holders on mandatory LOA abide by the requirements.

Employers are not to instruct their employees to turn up for work. Ignorance of the requirements is not an excuse and MOM will revoke work passes and withdraw work-pass privileges against errant employees or employers.

Members of public who have any information on work pass holders or employers breaching the LOA requirements can email MOM at:

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