A 30-year-old woman from Singapore faces up to 13 years behind bars if convicted for withholding her domestic helper’s salary for almost a year.
Singaporean Li Jun faces 13 charges after Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower discovered that she owed a domestic helper from Myanmar 5,700 Singapore dollars ($4,182) worth of unpaid salary.
According to NewStraitsTimes, Li could receive a fine of up to 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,337) and could be imprisoned for up to 12 months for each charge against her if found guilty. Singapore’s current regulations specify that employers should pay their foreign domestic helpers no longer than one week after their payment’s due date.
The employer’s records reportedly revealed that Li failed to pay her domestic worker starting from March 7, 2016 up to February 21, 2017. Li is now prohibited from hiring any other domestic worker and her case will once again be tried in court on September 12.
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower warned employers not to keep the salaries of their domestic helpers and that helpers should immediately alert the ministry if their salaries are being withheld from them. In addition, employers are urged to keep a monthly salary record that should also include a written acknowledgment from the domestic helper themselves.
Paying on time isn’t the only thing employers should be concerned about; the ministry will also not tolerate it if workers are subjected to poor living conditions. According to StraitsTimes, a construction firm was fined 156,000 Singapore dollars ($114,470) for subjecting their employees to a living quarters that they deemed as “very poor” and had “evidence of rat infestation.”
“This is unacceptable and the ministry will take these employers to task,” the ministry added. With that said, the Kay Lim Construction and Trading firm was also been banned from employing other foreign workers and might be prohibited from renewing the work permits of their current employees as well.