3,000% increase in CPF arrears?: Sleeping giant awakens?

3,000% increase in CPF arrears?: Sleeping giant awakens?

I refer to the article “Issuing payslips ‘will not add to employers’ costs’” (Today, Nov 20).

$293m CPF arrears recovered?

It states that “the CPF Board revealed that it recovered some S$293 million worth of CPF arrears, including late payments, for more than 200,000 workers last year.

In 2011, only $9.5m recovered?

In contrast, 10,000 workers from 3,700 companies were owed about S$9.5 million in arrears in 2011. Nearly three-quarters of these companies had underpaid, while the remainder did not make contributions to their employees’ CPF accounts.”

3,000% increase?

The amount of CPF arrears recovered increased by about 31 times or 3,000 per cent ($293 million divided by $9.5 million) from 2011 to last year.

1,900% increase in No. of workers helped?

The number of workers who were helped to recover their arrears increased by about 20 times or 1,900 per cent (200,000 divided by 10,000) for the same period.

Don’t you find the above statistics rather odd?

149th Press Freedom ranking?

It would appear that our 149th Press Freedom Ranking media may simply have reported it without much fanfare, analysis or critical commentary.

Why increased by 3,000%?

So, why is it that the amount and workers affected can increase by 3,000 and 1,900 per cent, respectively, in just one year?

Could it be because …

  • … the economy was very bad and there was a sudden surge of employers who couldn’t pay?
  • … workers all of a sudden realised that they could complain and more complained?
  • … the people who were handling CPF arrears complaints suddenly woke up?

I asked a random sampling of people and to my surprise they all chose the third and last option listed above.

No. of complaints also increased?

Actually, I think what’s missing in the statistics revealed, may be the number of complaints on CPF arrears broken down into the number of employers, number of workers, amounts involved, etc, from 2011 to last year.

By the way, has the number of employers prosecuted also increased from 2011 to last year – and if so, by how much?

No pay slips?

And here’s what I think is the funniest part – if you complain that your employer didn’t or underpaid your CPF – how do you provide proof when you don’t even have pay slips?

Uniquely Singapore! Aka the “wayang” goes on!

250,000 workers not correctly paid?

As to “This is because salary underpayment is a “common complaint” among foreign workers here, it said, citing an ongoing survey it is conducting, where one-quarter to one-third of respondents said they might not have been correctly paid in the previous month.

This means that as many as a quarter of a million workers here are affected, since there are about 750,000 non-domestic work-permit holders in Singapore, TWC2 added.

Labour MP also say he knows? 

Echoing Mr Zainal’s comment that refusing to issue payslips is how irresponsible employers “cover their tracks” when they underpay or flout the law, TWC2 said inaction would “(allow) unethical business(es) to continue to exploit the most vulnerable of the workers”.

Requiring employers to issue payslips was something many supported during the ministry’s public consultations between last November and January this year”

Protecting workers – serious or not?

– Are we really serious about protecting workers, when we don’t even want to make pay slips compulsory?

Are there any developed countries in the world that has this “no pay slips” problem?

Labour movement and labour MPs?

With regard to “TWC2 urged the ministry to specify a time frame to make issuing payslips compulsory — something Labour Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari had called for during the debate in Parliament — or compel work-permit hirers to do so, for a start”

– what’s the point of having a labour movement with so many labour MPs who during a Parliamentary debate may call for change like the subject pay slips issue – and end up with nothing and the status quo?

Perhaps, arguably, the wayang goes on in Parliament as well.

The sleeping giant awakens?

Oh by the way – who handles CPF arrears’ complaints – the MOM or CPF Board?

So, with a 3,000 per cent increase in one year, maybe the awakening giant may finally be getting up? Who was sleeping in the past – MOM or CPF or both were sleeping together?

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