By Leong Sze Hian
I refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s reply “Measures in place to help injured workers” (Straits Times, Dec 5).
Employers responsible for injured workers’ upkeep?
It states that “Employers are responsible for a worker’s upkeep and maintenance during the entire work injury compensation claim process, and these include providing adequate food, ensuring acceptable housing, and paying any medical leave wages and medical bills (“Help workers who recover from injury be self-sufficient” by Ms Lim Wan Keng and “Helpful and sympathetic hospital staff” by Ms Deborah D. Fordyce, both published in Forum Online last Friday; and “Plug gaps in system to reduce illegal work” by Transient Workers Count Too president Russell Heng, last Friday).”
Hundreds have no shelter and survive on free food?
– So, how do we explain that for years and even now, hundreds of injured foreign workers awaiting the compensation claim process, have to rely on free food everyday provided by NGOs, and sleep along the corridors outside shop houses, like the homeless?
How many employers prosecuted?
As to “The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will take action against employers who fail to fulfil their responsibilities” – how many employers have been prosecuted for this, in the last year and the last 3 years?.
New pilot Temporary Job Scheme?
With regard to
“To further help injured foreign workers who have recovered and are fit to work, but are no longer employed, the MOM is piloting a Temporary Job Scheme. This allows foreign workers, while awaiting the resolution of their work injury compensation claims, to take up employment on a temporary basis until the conclusion of their cases.
We are reviewing the pilot and welcome input from various parties on how this can, as much as it is realistically possible, help more injured foreign workers secure employment.
Nevertheless, we reiterate that it is illegal for foreigners to work in Singapore without a valid work permit. Unless approval has been obtained from the ministry, workers on Special Passes awaiting the resolution of their work injury compensation claims are not allowed to work.
Doing so would potentially increase the risk to the workers’ well-being. It also gives errant employers an unfair advantage by circumventing work pass obligations. The MOM takes a very serious view of workers and employers who break the law”
– What percentage of injured workers have been given this new Temporary Job Scheme?
Why did it take so many years to pilot this scheme?
Call for help?
In respect of “We urge workers whose employers are not fulfilling their obligations, or who want to sign up for the Temporary Job Scheme, to approach MOM or call us on 6438-5122 for help”
– why don’t the MOM just go to the place where hundreds of injured workers queue every day for free food, with a card given to them by NGOs, to solve this problem which has been highlighted and going on for years?