Placement agency fined $32,500

An employment agency was fined $30,000 on Thursday for signing new staff placement agreements with clients while serving a suspension order.

Sunway Employment is the first agency to be convicted of such an offence since the revised Employment Agencies Act came into effect in April 2011, when the maximum penalty was raised to $80,000.

The agency was fined another $2,500 for illegally employing a foreigner without a valid work pass and was ordered to pay a levy of $347. This offence had led to its suspension.

Under Ministry of Manpower (MOM) rules, an employment agency under suspension may continue to carry on work for its existing clients, but cannot take on new clients.

Despite being aware of the restrictions of the suspension order, which took effect from May 22 this year, Sunway signed up three new clients between June 17 and July 1.

The order prohibits the agency from using MOM's Work Pass On-Line (WPOL) system to submit work pass applications online.

But Sunway circumvented the system by using the SingPass passwords of its two new clients to submit applications.

For the third client, Sunway submitted the application manually.

For its other offence, Sunway hired a Filipino maid illegally to perform cleaning and administrative duties from June 6 to July 9 last year.

Commenting on the case, Commissioner for Employment Agencies Kevin Teoh said on Thursday that all licensed employment agencies are expected to operate with a high level of integrity and professionalism.

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