Bosses who pay workers' CPF late face jail, stiffer fine

PHOTO: Bosses who pay workers' CPF late face jail, stiffer fine

Employers could be sent to jail for being late in making contributions to their workers' Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts or defaulting on payments, under proposed amendments to the law.

These bosses and those who fail to pay salaries may also face stiffer fines.

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin introduced two Bills to amend the Central Provident Fund Act and Employment Act on Monday.

He had earlier called for stronger deterrence against errant employers, after the CPF Board recovered $293 million in arrears from employers owed to more than 200,000 workers last year.

Employers who are tardy with CPF contributions or default on them could be jailed for up to six months or fined up to $5,000, double the $2,500 now, or both, in the first instance. The minimum fine will be $1,000.

Repeat offenders may be jailed for up to 12 months or fined, or both. The maximum fine remains at $10,000.

A minimum fine of $2,000 will be imposed.

Employers who fail to pay salaries will have their maximum fines tripled to $15,000 for first-timers, and $30,000 for repeat offenders. The maximum composition fine will go up five times to $5,000.

A minimum fine of $3,000 will also be imposed for first-timers, and $6,000 for repeat offenders.

They continue to be liable for jail terms of up to six months and 12 months respectively.

Enforcement inspectors will be given more powers to investigate and arrest people.

The Bill proposing changes to the Employment Act also covers the Child Development Co-Savings Act and the Industrial Relations Act.

Changes first made public at the Committee of Supply debate in March include enabling more workers to qualify for overtime and giving professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) more protection.

But there will be caps on the overtime rate and PMEs have to serve with the same employer for at least one year to be eligible to seek redress against unfair dismissal.

The Manpower Ministry said in a statement on Monday: "The proposed amendments will help to ensure better protection for more workers and improve employment standards, while allowing flexibility for employers."

Another concession for employers: They will not have to give paid sick leave or pay consultation fees for workers getting cosmetic surgery.

Examples include nose jobs and mole removal, the ministry said.

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