Parmjit Kaur, the former vice president of human resources of Harry's International pleaded guilty to charges of consenting to the offence of making false declaration of salary in work pass applications in State Courts on 20 June.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the 49-year-old Singaporean was convicted in Court and sentenced to a fine of $40,000.
It was revealed through investigations that Kaur, in her capacity then as the company’s president and chief operating officer (from 1 March 2012 to 1 July 2013) and subsequently the vice president of human resources (from 1 July 2013 onward), instructed her subordinate to declare higher fixed monthly salaries for 20 foreign employees to meet requirements needed to obtain Employment Passes (EPs).
She, however, knew that the company only intended to pay the foreign employees a monthly salary below the minimum requirement.
The salaries of the 20 foreign employees were declared as $3,100 and as a result, based on the false information provided to the Controller of Work Passes, the 20 EP applications were approved and the EPs were issued to the foreign employees.
These 20 employees were issued Letters of Offer for the position of chef de partie, stating that they would be paid a monthly salary of $3,100.
However, a day after receiving their salary in their bank accounts, they would have to reimburse the company $1,600 for meals and transportation which actually costs less than $1,600.
While this reimbursement practice continued for several months, only some of the 20 employees were provided with meals and transportation.
Commenting on the case, Kandhavel Periyasamy, director of employment inspectorate at MOM’s foreign manpower management division said: "Providing false declaration of S Pass and EP salaries is a serious offence. We will take stern action against persons or companies, including barring them from applying for new work passes and renewing their existing work passes."
No stranger to false salary declaration offences, the MOM takes a serious view of these offences. The press release stated that since 2014, a total of 39 employers have been convicted for false salary declaration offences.
"All employers must make accurate, complete and truthful declarations to the Controller in their work pass applications. Making false declarations to the Controller is an offence," the press release stated.
"Upon conviction, employers can be fined up to $20,000 and/or jailed for up to two years under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA). They will also be barred from employing new foreign workers and renewing their existing foreign workers."
The MOM urges members of the public who know of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA to report the matter to MOM and stated that all information will be kept strictly confidential.