Two private security agencies in Singapore accused of excessive working hours: MOM

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While the majority of agencies inspected were found to be EA compliant, 36% found even minor violations.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has indicted two private security companies under the Employment Act (EA) for making their employees work excessive hours.

Between April 2021 and August 2021, MOM inspected nearly 200 private security companies to verify their compliance with the EA, with a focus on working hours and overtime limits. While the majority of agencies were found to be EA compliant, 36% found violations, albeit minor. In total, MOM is taking action against 15 private security agencies for deploying their security guards beyond authorized working hours limits.

Details of the two agencies that were charged

In particular, security officers from Erawan Security and Volantra Security had worked several times between February and March 2021, working between 17 and 20 hours a day. By law, private security agencies should not deploy their security guards to work more than 12 hours per day, subject to the exceptions mentioned in the EA.

Employers caught in the act of violating the provisions of Part IV of the EA, which provides for days of rest, limits on working hours and other conditions of service, can be prosecuted and fined up to go up to S $ 5,000 for each violation. If convicted for the second and subsequent offenses, the employer may be fined up to S $ 10,000 or imprisoned for up to 12 months, or both.

These inspections were not MOM’s only efforts to improve the salaries and welfare of security guards. In November 2017, the government accepted the recommendations of the tripartite security cluster1 remove the overtime exemption for the security sector from January 2021. The security industry was no longer exempt from the EA limits of 72 hours overtime per month from January 1, 2021, in the hope to reduce overtime worked by security guards.

MOM’s Department of Employment Standards Enforcement Director Christine Loh says, “The Department of Manpower is committed to protecting the well-being of all workers. As we continue to educate employees on their rights, we will also conduct regular site inspections and take tough action against offending employers who flout the law.

“Security agencies should refer to the Tripartite Advisory Council on Ensuring the Sustainability of the Security Sector with a view to COVID-19[female[feminine to plan ahead and take advantage of technological solutions to optimize the workforce.

1 The tripartite safety cluster includes representatives of trade unions, employers, service buyers and government.


Photo / 123RF

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