The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced on Monday (24 February) that it has taken action against ten additional work pass holders and has suspended the work pass privileges of nine more employers between 10 Feb and 24 Feb for breaching the leave of absence (LOA) implemented during this Covid-19 outbreak.
On 31 Jan, the MOM enforced a mandatory 14-day LOA for all work pass holders with recent travel history to mainland China to be served upon their arrival in Singapore.
Of the ten work pass holders who have been found to breach the LOA, six work passes were revoked and four work pass holders were given stern warnings.
Among the ten cases, the MOM said that the work passes of two workers who claimed “ignorance of the LOA requirement” despite being informed earlier were revoked and they have been permanently banned from working in Singapore.
Meanwhile, their employer’s work pass privileges have also been suspended for two years the same reason of being “ignorant” of LOA requirements.
To this, the MOM said, “Ignorance of the requirements is not an excuse” and stressed that the MOM will not hesitate to revoke the work passes and withdraw work pass privileges against employers or employees who breach the rules.
One foreign worker who was caught visiting a casino during the LOA period had his work pass revoked and is permanently banned from employment in the country.
The MOM also revoked three work passes holders who did not respond to its repeated calls and suspended the work pass privilege of their two employers for failing to ensure that their workers remained contactable during the LOA period.
For the cases that have been given stern warnings, three involved workers on LOA were instructed by their employers to report to work.
The workers consequently were given a warning while the work pass privileges of their employers have been suspended for three years.
According to the MOM, the three involved companies were a freight forwarding firm, Element Logistics Pte Ltd; an architecture firm, SCDA Design Pte Ltd; and a manufacturing firm, Cham Brothers Engineering Pte Ltd.
A stern warning was also given to a foreign worker for being out of his residence for a prolonged period of time after his meal.
The MOM reminded employers and employees that they have a joint duty to ensure that the employee behaves responsibly during the LOA. For example, employers are not to instruct their employees to turn up for work.
As of 24 Feb, the MOM noted that it has taken action against a total of 14 work pass holders and 15 employers.
Apart from that, the MOM has approved, on average, 200 applications and rejected 500 daily for work pass holders with travel history to mainland China to return to Singapore since the implementation of new entry rules to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
Previously, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo stated that approximately 30,000 work pass holders of Chinese nationality who departed Singapore for Chinese New Year break have not returned.
The MOM said that it has currently revoked 11 workers’ work pass for breaching the entry approval requirements by trying enter Singapore despite failing to obtain MOM’s approval.
The MOM repatriated these workers and permanently banned them from working in the country, while also suspending the work pass privileges of their employers for one year.