Employers are responsible for a worker's upkeep and maintenance during the entire work injury compensation claim process, and these include providing adequate food, ensuring acceptable housing, and paying any medical leave wages and medical bills ("Help workers who recover from injury be self-sufficient" by Ms Lim Wan Keng and "Helpful and sympathetic hospital staff" by Ms Deborah D. Fordyce, both published in Forum Online last Friday; and "Plug gaps in system to reduce illegal work" by Transient Workers Count Too president Russell Heng, last Friday).
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will take action against employers who fail to fulfil their responsibilities.
To further help injured foreign workers who have recovered and are fit to work, but are no longer employed, the MOM is piloting a Temporary Job Scheme. This allows foreign workers, while awaiting the resolution of their work injury compensation claims, to take up employment on a temporary basis until the conclusion of their cases.
We are reviewing the pilot and welcome input from various parties on how this can, as much as it is realistically possible, help more injured foreign workers secure employment.
Nevertheless, we reiterate that it is illegal for foreigners to work in Singapore without a valid work permit. Unless approval has been obtained from the ministry, workers on Special Passes awaiting the resolution of their work injury compensation claims are not allowed to work.
Doing so would potentially increase the risk to the workers' well-being. It also gives errant employers an unfair advantage by circumventing work pass obligations. The MOM takes a very serious view of workers and employers who break the law.
We are in contact with Ms Fordyce on her complaint about an employer who confiscated a worker's medical documents. We remind employers that they should not withhold medical documents from their workers.
The MOM advises employers and workers to be responsible during the work injury compensation claim process, so that all parties can benefit from a fair and expeditious system.
We urge workers whose employers are not fulfilling their obligations, or who want to sign up for the Temporary Job Scheme, to approach MOM or call us on 6438-5122 for help.
Woon Cheng Peng
Deputy Director, Work Injury Compensation Department
Ministry of Manpower
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