Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cane Irresponsible Employers of Foreign Workers



Part I

Part II


1. Some years ago, the leading broadsheet of Singapore dedicated a whole section to foreign workers who had prospered in Singapore and returned to their respective countries to build beautiful homes and families. That story, as these documentaries show, has now changed.

2. What is even more shocking is the regulator's reaction to such mistreatment of foreign workers. The documentaries portray them as a manipulated eunuch. They come across as powerless. They appear to have failed to discharge their duty as guardians of these workers. They seem unsuccessful in protecting Singapore's reputation as a responsible state.

3. An example should be made of irresponsible employers, who allegedly lace their pockets with the debts of these foreign workers and put to risk hundreds or thousands of lives beyond the shores of Singapore.

4. Singapore was quick to introduce corporal punishment to stem the inflow of illegal immigrants into Singapore. The government says it has worked. Perhaps, employers who irresponsibly bring into Singapore workers but have no jobs for them should be treated the same.

Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Review Your Employment Contracts

In the past months, at least two friends have approached me about their employment contracts.

They told me, "I am not covered by the Employment Act. How?"

As they held management positions with their base pay exceeding S$2,500.00, they were right.

From the website of the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore:

"The Employment Act covers every employee (regardless of nationality) who is under a contract of service with an employer, except:
a) Any person employed in a managerial or executive * position
(However, managers and executives earning $2,500 basic monthly salary and below are covered for the purpose of salary protection. All other provisions do not apply to them);
b) Any seaman;
c) Any domestic worker; and
d) Any person employed by a Statutory Board or the Government.

Part IV of the Act, which provides for rest days, hours of work and other conditions of service, applies only to:
a) Workmen earning not more than $4,500 basic monthly salaries and
b) Employees earning not more than $2,000 basic monthly salaries."

This does not mean that people like my friends above have no rights. Their rights are usually determined by the employment contract executed between their respective employers and them.

This is why the employment contract is a serious document. I am surprised by the numbers of people who give scant attention to their employment document.

Perhaps, people rush into executing their employment contracts because it is very difficult for job offers to come by in a negative economic climate. But that's really a bad excuse for throwing the baby out with the water!

Before signing an employment contract:

1. Ask for a copy of it to be sent to you in advance.

2. Do some research on what the market practice is, in relation to the particular industry you have applied for.

3. Seek independent legal advice.

4. Propose amendments to the employment contract, if necessary.

5. Make sure you are protected. Secure a 'win-win' employment contract.

6. Review your employment contracts with your employer at the end of your probation period, if they decide to keep you.

Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this?