Six persons — five men and a woman — were charged in court for failing to pay employees’ salaries, reported the Straits Times on September 28, 2011.

Jufri Saini, 47, faced the most charges – 136 of them — among which were 42 for unauthorised deductions of $100 each from foreign workers to prevent them from absconding. The director of cleaning and building maintenance company Service Partners also faced 63 charges for defaulting on salary payments. The prosecution alleges that he owed 71 workers about $67,000 in total. The company is also facing 136 charges, with the offences taking place between August 2010 and January 2011.

Another defendant was Julia Lim Sok Yian, 46, a director of Kudo Travel, who was accused of 19 charges involving six employees and $27,882 in owed salaries. It is not clear from the newspaper report whether these were Singaporean employees or migrant workers.

The others charged were Humphries Warren Sheldon, 42, owner of Teleconsulting Asia, who faces 18 charges; Bernard Tsai, 59, a former director of Starcap F&B Group Holding, with 12 charges; Desmond Ang Boon Wee, 31, general manager of advertising and promotions firm Livewire, with four charges; and Tan Boon Chye, 50, manager of CaiGenXiang Cuisine Holdings, with two charges. The Straits Times did not describe what the offences were alleged to be.

Section 21 of the Employment Act stipulates that “Salary earned by an employee under a contract of service, other than additional payments for overtime work, shall be paid before the expiry of the 7th day after the last day of the salary period in respect of which the salary is payable,” where the salary period, which shall not exceed one month, is taken to mean a calendar month unless otherwise agreed in the contract.

Section 112 of the Act stipulates that a first offender is liable to a fine up to $5,000 or to imprisonment for up to six months or both. For a subsequent offence the fine can go up to $10,000 and the jail term up to 12 months.

Source: Straits Times, September 28, 2011: Six charged with failing to pay salaries, by Elena Chong

See also Letter to the Editor from John Gee.