Construction firm prosecuted over “unacceptable” workers’ accommodation

Company ordered to improve conditions of all existing construction site temporary quarters

Construction firm prosecuted over “unacceptable” workers’ accommodation
A construction firm faces over 80 charges relating to housing offences, including the housing of foreign workers in "unacceptable" accommodations with "unhygienic living conditions," according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Kay Lim Construction & Trading was also prosecuted in court for abetting nine other companies in housing their foreign workers in the same unacceptable accommodations.

Between March 2014 and September 2015, the firm also failed to update the housing address of these workers in the Online Foreign Worker Address Service (OFWAS), MOM said.

"MOM has since ordered the accused company to improve the hygiene and living conditions of all their existing construction site temporary quarters. The accused company has complied with the order," said the ministry. The case has been adjourned to 18 April, The Straits Times reported.

During a speech last February, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck emphasized the benefit of improved housing conditions for foreign workers.

“Small touches to improve the housing standards go a long way to improve the well-being of our foreign workers, who deserve a good rest after a long day at work. A dormitory that provides them with a good living environment will ensure they get that good rest, so that they can work safely and productively.”

Employers are required to ensure acceptable housing for their foreign workers and provide their addresses, according to MOM. Acceptable housing standards include:
  • Proper land use as defined by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Housing Development Board, or Jurong Town Corporation
  • Building structural safety standards by the Building and Construction Authority
  • Fire and safety standards by the Singapore Civil Defence Force
  • Environmental health requirements by the National Environment Agency
  • Drainage, sanitary and sewerage system standards by the Public Utilities Board
“Employers could be prosecuted if they do not ensure that their workers have acceptable housing. Their future Work Permit applications or renewals may also be affected,” said the Ministry.

Related stories:
How do most foreign-worker pay disputes end?
MOM continues crackdown on companies illegally hiring foreign workers

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