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COVID-19: 14 WP holders and 15 employers face penalty for breaching LOA requirements

Between the period of 10 February and 24 February 2020, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) took action against 10 more work pass holders, and suspended the work pass privileges of nine more employers for breaching the Ministry's leave of absence (LOA) requirements.

In a press release yesterday, the Ministry announced that to date, it has taken action against 14 work pass holders and 15 employers in total, in line with the COVID-19 situation.

About the cases

In two cases out of the 10 above, both the employers and the workers had claimed ignorance of the LOA requirements, despite the Ministry informing them of these requirements earlier.

Both employers' work pass privileges have been suspended for two years, while the workers' have had their work passes revoked and a permanent ban from employment in Singapore.

Out of the remaining cases, three had not responded to calls by MOM despite the Ministry's repeated attempts. As such, the Ministry has revoked their work passes, while their employers' work pass privileges have been suspended as they had failed to ensure their workers remained contactable while on LOA.

In addition to the above, one foreign worker has had his work pass revoked, and has been permanently banned from employment in Singapore, after he was caught visiting a casino while on LOA.

While these six had their work passes revoked, the remaining four were issued stern warnings for different reasons. For three of them, it had been because despite being on LOA, their employers had still instructed them to report to work.

Following warnings given to these workers, MOM has also suspended the work pass privileges of the employers for three years.

The last case - a foreign worker - was given a stern warning for leaving his residence for a prolonged period of time after his meal.

Since the implementation of the entry approval requirements for work pass holders with travel history to mainland China, MOM has approved an average of 220 applications and rejected 500 daily, to manage their inflow into Singapore.

In a statement yesterday (24 February), Penny Han, Divisional Director of MOM's Work Pass Division, said: "The majority of employers have been compliant with our entry approval requirements, in spite of the short notice. They understand the need for such measures to help Singapore manage the evolving COVID-19 situation and we are grateful for their support."

However, she added, there remains a small minority who choose to blatantly disregard these safeguards. "We would like to remind employers of the need to take these requirements seriously. The COVID-19 situation is still evolving and we cannot afford to be complacent."

To date, the Ministry has revoked 11 work passes for breach of the entry approval requirements, as these workers had proceeded to enter Singapore despite failing to obtain MOM's approval.

These workers have been repatriated and permanently banned from working in Singapore, while their employers have had their work pass privileges suspended for one year.

Photo / 123RF

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