The headline and lead-in to Tuesday's article ("Bosses who don't pay staff face arrest on the spot") could give rise to the misleading perception that Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officers arrest employers without prior investigations or due care. This is not the case.
First, the Employment Act amendments pertaining to the powers of inspectors are not the "low-profile change" that the article portrayed them to be.
The powers of inspecting officers, alongside enhanced penalties, are to better facilitate the enforcement of the Employment Act provisions.
Prior to the recent Employment Act amendments, similar enforcement powers were already accorded to MOM officers under other workplace legislation, such as the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
Second, most employers are cooperative in assisting the MOM's investigations into a salary claim or complaint.
For the minority of employers who are persistently uncooperative, for example, those who wilfully refuse to comply with orders to attend investigation sessions, MOM officers can now arrest them to assist in investigations.
Above all, the MOM will enforce the Employment Act in a professional manner.
Then Yee Thoong, Divisional Director, Labour Relations and Workplaces Division, Ministry of Manpower
This article was published on April 3 in The Straits Times.
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