An employment agency (EA), Career Central, was sentenced to a fine of $6,000 after pleading guilty in the State Courts to two charges of collecting excessive agency fees from two foreign employees on two occasions in 2014.
Under the Employment Agencies Act (EAA), EAs are not allowed to charge their clients any amount exceeding two months of their monthly salary as agency fees.
Following the conviction, Career Central's employment agency licence is being reviewed, while it remains suspended in the interim.
The investigation revealed the offences took place two times, in November 2013 and October 2014, when two foreign employees first approached Career Central for job opportunities in Singapore.
During the recruitment process, these employees were instructed to pay various non-prescribed fees (such as ‘administrative fees’ and ‘resume marketing’ fees), even before their placement.
In total, the foreign employees each paid Career Central $7,519 and $7,919 as agency fees, which were more than two months of their salary, overcharging them in excess of $919 as agency fees.
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Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued a statement reminding all licensed EAs to comply with the licensing conditions and regulations under the EAA.
That implies, to only collect fees (within lawful prescribed limits) from clients after they have successfully placed job seekers with employers.
Collection of non-prescribed fees by any EA is a contravention of the EAA, failure to comply with which can result in suspension of the licence or even revocation.
MOM also reminded job seekers they should not pay fees to their EAs until they are successfully placed with an employer.
They should also request from their EA the itemised receipts that show a breakdown of the services provided which they have paid for.
In addition, job seekers are advised to only use MOM-licensed employment agencies that can be verified through the EA Directory.