MOM charges firms for overworking staff

The ministry said it's taking legal steps against 15 security agencies

MOM charges firms for overworking staff

Two private security agencies are facing charges for overworking their security officers, a violation under the Employment Act (EA). The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday said the pair violated the EA by making their security officers work back-to-back shifts on multiple occasions between February and March, with some personnel working between 17 to 20 hours a day.

Singaporean law stipulates that private security agencies are prohibited from making their security officers work beyond 12 hours a day unless covered by EA exemptions. The number of overtime hours per month is also capped to 72 hours for the security industry.

The two agencies risk being fined up to $5,000 for each offence. On second and subsequent conviction, however, violators can be fined with up to $10,000, jail time not exceeding 12 months, or both.

The MOM found that 36% of nearly 200 inspected security agencies between April and August 2021 breached the EA. The ministry said that while most were minor breaches, it will be taking steps against 15 private security agencies for making their personnel work beyond the permitted number of hours.

Read more: Singapore most overworked city globally

"The Ministry of Manpower is committed to safeguarding the welfare of all workers. As we continue to educate employees on their rights, we will also carry out regular site inspections and take stern action against errant employers found to be flouting the law," said Christine Loh, MOM’s director of Employment Standards Enforcement Department, in a statement.

"Security agencies should refer to the Tripartite Advisory on Ensuring Sustainability of Security Sector in View of COVID-19 to plan ahead, and leverage technology-enabled solutions to optimise manpower," Loh added.

The ministry urged individuals who are aware of employers infringing the EA to report them to the MOM, ensuring that all information will be kept confidential.

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