A former director of Harry’s International was fined only S$40,000 for under-declaring the salaries of 20 foreign employees. Singapore citizen, Parmjit Kaur, 49, was the former Chief Operating Office and Vice-President of Human Resource for restaurant Harry’s International and he hired 20 foreigners on the employment pass with a declaration of S$3,100. However in a private arrangement, the 20 foreign employees will have to return S$1,600 for “transportation and meal” costs back to the company in a day after they receive their salaries.
The offense was committed between April and September 2013, and Harry’s International is believed to have made at least S$192,000 in the illegal salary-payback scheme. Although the offence carry a maximum 2 years’ jail and fine up to S$20,000 for each charge, Parmjit Kaur was only fined S$40,000 and there is no jail term for the 20 charges. Harry’s International as a company was also not penalised.
The director of Employment Inspectorate at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, Kandhavel Periyasamy, however made a serious statement on the infringements:
“Providing false declaration of S Pass and Employment Pass salaries is a serious offence. We will take stern action against persons or companies, including barring them from applying for new work passes and renewing their existing work passes.”
Salary-payback is a common employment malpractice in Singapore as foreigners from third world countries are desperate to work in Singapore. An employment pass with degree requirement, albeit unaccredited, does not face as stringent a quota as the S-pass and work permit holders. As the Singapore Manpower Ministry does not actively survey companies for infringement and instead rely on whistleblowers, many believe the Singapore government “closes one eye” on such offense.