Buried within a news story in the Sunday Times (More foreign workers seek help over wage woes, 14 June 2015) was this sentence:
Next year, employers must issue itemised payslips and provide written key employment terms, to prevent salary disputes, MOM said.
A check at the ministry’s website does not indicate any recent announcement on this matter. In any case, TWC2 has long argued that making itemised payslips mandatory is only half the solution. The half that also needs to be made compulsory is payment through bank transfers. This is because payslips only show how the salaries have been calculated. They do not show whether salaries were paid, or paid in full.
The newspaper story reported that:
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revealed to The Sunday Times that around 4,500 foreign workers sought its help to resolve such problems last year – 900 more than in 2013.
It also reported that:
At non-governmental organisation Migrant Workers’ Centre, pay woes such as unfair deductions and late or withheld payments account for about 60 per cent of the complaints it receives.
As of this month, the centre has received about 2,000 complaints regarding late or withheld payments and unfair deductions.
It expects that by December, it would have received a total of about 4,000 complaints – the same number as last year.
However, the article says nothing about how these men are helped with their salary issues, and whether they’re satisfied with the outcome. Large numbers seeking help is not an indicator of the effectiveness of the help rendered (if any).
The story also cited a survey that we carried out last year:
According to a survey of 328 workers conducted by Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) last year, only one in three migrant workers was paid correctly and could check his income against a detailed payslip.
Our report on that survey can be accessed here: One third of male migrant workers aren’t paid what they’re due.
TWC2 wrote to the Straits Times in response to this article. See our letter here: Ensure pay is banked, offer (job) mobility