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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 23 October 2004

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Employer ordered to compensate maid for failure to pay her salary

Source: www.mom.gov.sg 

Enilia Donohue, the employer of a foreign domestic worker (FDW) has been ordered by the High Court to pay $3,580 to her FDW, Achdaniah as compensation for failure to pay salaries.

This is the first time that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has initiated prosecution against the employer of an FDW for the non-payment of salaries.

This is also the first time the Courts have granted such a compensation order.

In August 2005, Enilia Donohue was prosecuted in court for failing to pay salaries to her FDW, Achdaniah, and for illegally employing Achdaniah after her work permit (WP) has been revoked[1].

Enilia was sentenced to a fine equivalent to 35 months’ levy in relation to the charge of illegal employment ($12,075); and a fine of $3,000 in relation to the charge of failing to comply with the Work Permit conditions, in relation to non-payment of salaries.

On the same day, MOM had also applied to the Courts for a compensation order to be granted to Achdaniah in relation to the unpaid salaries, totalling $3580. This application was not granted and the Ministry appealed the decision not to award a compensation order, to the High Court.

The appeal was heard by the Honourable the Chief Justice Yong Pung How on 19 October 2004. The appeal was allowed and compensation order was issued to Enilia Donohue, requiring her to make good the unpaid salaries to Achdaniah.

The Ministry has been concerned with such employers who persistently fail to pay the salaries of their FDWs. A number of these employers had also defaulted on levy payments, and subsequently failed to repatriate their FDWs. Thus, the Ministry is pleased with the decision by the Court to grant a compensation order in favour of the FDW.

The Ministry of Manpower would like to remind employers of FDWs that they must pay their workers' salary on time. Failure to do so, is an offence under the Employment of the Foreign Workers Act.

The Ministry will not hesitate to take stern action against such employers, including taking them to Court. Errant employers will be made to bear the full cost for non-payment of salaries to their workers, including the cost of resolving disputes.

The Ministry will also continue to apply to the courts for an order for compensation, in the appropriate circumstances, to recover the unpaid salaries of work permit holders.

The Ministry urges FDWs who encounter employment problems (such as not being paid their salary) to approach their embassies for help, or to lodge a complaint with MOM’s Foreign Workers Unit by calling 6317-1298.

The employment dispute will be dealt with promptly and fairly. For the past three years, around 90% of all employment disputes were amicably resolved.

[1] Achdaniah started working for her employer, Enilia Donohue on 7 September 2001. Achdaniah’s work permit was revoked on 1 Dec 2001 when her employer failed to pay her salary. However, Enilia Donohue kept Acdaniah in the dark about the revocation of the work permit and continued to employ her until 9 Aug 2003. In addition, she had failed to pay the monthly salary of $230 throughout the period of employment.

Source: Ministry of Manpower Press Release 19 Oct 2004

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Public Holidays DEEPAVALI is the next public holiday. It falls on 11 November 2004.