Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) took action against 645 employers under the Employment Act (EA) for salary-related offences in 2014.

According to an oral answer by Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, 49 employers were also prosecuted for severe breaches.

This was four times more than those prosecuted that of 2013.

"We take a particularly serious view of employers who willfully refuse to pay," Lim said.

Under the EA, employers are required to pay their staff within seven days after the end of the salary period. Per the Ministry, failure to do so is an offence and employers are liable upon conviction to a fine or imprisonment or both.

Other than prosecution, MOM can choose to use a range of enforcement actions including issuing warnings and imposing fines. Additionally, the privilege of these employers to hire foreign workers would also be suspended.

"We therefore urge workers who have not been paid their salaries or feel that their wages have been wrongfully withheld to come forward early to MOM or their unions for assistance," stated the Minister.

The penalty for failure to pay salaries has recently been raised, with SG$3000 being the minimum fine for first-time offenders and $6,000 for repeat offenders.

At the same time, the Ministry has granted employment inspectors the power to arrest any person believed to be guilty of failing to pay salary, as well as the power to enter workplaces to conduct inspections.

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