Electronic payments mandatory upon foreign workers' request

Mr Alex Au suggested that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) mandate electronic payment of salaries for foreign workers, and allow mobility for them to change employers ("Ensure pay is banked, offer mobility"; last Wednesday).

Our laws already require employers of work permit holders (WPHs) to pay salaries electronically if the workers make this request, and a majority of them are receiving their salaries in this manner. However, some WPHs still prefer to be paid in cash.

MOM takes a tough enforcement stance against employers who wilfully deny workers their salaries, whatever the mode of payment.

Victimised WPHs are typically given a two-week window to find new employers while their cases are being investigated.

Mr Au would know that the MOM has a history of working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Transient Workers Count Too, and has exercised flexibility for deserving cases.

For WPHs who are unable to - or in some cases, unwilling to - continue working, MOM will work with NGO partners to assist these workers until their cases are concluded, and facilitate their return home to start life anew.

This article was first published on June 23, 2015.
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