Two Singaporean employers were given a total fine of $41,000 by the State Courts in December. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), they were convicted of failing to purchase work injury insurance for their workers, as well as failing to pay compensation for their injuries even when they have been ordered to do so.
In MOM’s official statement on Thursday (Dec 28), renovation firm Valiancy Enterprise was charged with $20,000 fine after it pleaded guilty for not paying one injury compensation and five insurance for their employees on Nov 7. Meanwhile, Ridgeway Marine and Construction’s sole proprietor Suriakumar Ridgeway Ramaiah was fined $21,000 after pleading guilty to the same charges on Nov 16.
Commenting on the issue, MOM said that such cases of employers not compensating for workers’ injuries are rare in Singapore. Ms Kee Ee Wah, director of the Work Injury Compensation Department at the ministry, said that from about 30,000 work injury compensation cases handled annually by MOM, almost 99.9 percent of valid claims are settled in full.
Valiancy Enterprise was found to fail in paying a carpenter’s compensation for work injury of $25,000 despite it has been told to do so by MOM in October last year. The said worker, Mr Phua Soon Beng had the tip of his thumb sliced off by a wood cutting machine in November 2015.
According to MOM’s investigation at the time, the firm did not provide and maintain work injury compensation insurance for five employees, including Mr Phua. Therefore, in addition to the $20,000 fine, the firm has been barred from applying for and renewing work permits for six months. Valiancy Enterprise has since paid the $25,000 to Mr Phua.
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On the other hand, Suriakumar from Ridgeway Marine and Construction was found to pay only $2,480 of the $11,625 compensation he was supposed to give a marine trade worker by required deadline, after an order was issued on Sept 28 last year.
Bangladeshi worker in the firm, Mr Sujan Ahmed Late Ali Ahmed, had injured his right elbow and back after falling from a ladder at the workplace in May 2015. MOM’s examination showed that Suriakumar failed to purchase insurance for 11 employees, including Mr Sujan, at the time of the accident.
Because of the accident, Suriakumar was fined $21,000 and prohibited from applying for and renewing work permits for six months. He was also sentenced to 120 days in jail as he had defaulted on the fine and worker compensation. Meanwhile, Mr Sujan is set to receive an ex gratia payment from the Workers’ Fund run by MOM for his work injury claim.
All employers should understand that they are required by law to buy work injury compensation insurance as well as paying compensation for their workers who get injured at work, Ms Kee said. If they fail to do so, the ministry will take enforcement action against such employers, Straits Times reports.
Under the Work Injury Compensation Act, employers convicted of the non-payment of work injury compensation within the stipulated timeline, or of failure to insure and maintain insurance, would be liable to pay a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 12 months’ jail, or both.
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