MOM: Uplifting Cleaning Industry's Professionalism by Com...
08 Oct, Sat

MOM had recently charged an individual from conservancy company Lian Cheng for collecting kickbacks, and had put out a press release on the case (Operations manager faces 61 charges for collecting $396,440 in kickbacks from 56 migrant workers, 29 Sep 22).

In addition, EMAS would like to share the following useful points:

1.               It is an offence under section 22A(1) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act 1990 (“EFMA”) to receive moneys in connection with the employment of a foreign employee. The relevant provision provides:

“22A.—(1)  A person must not deduct from any salary payable to a foreign employee, or demand or receive, directly or indirectly and whether in Singapore or elsewhere, from a foreign employee any sum or other benefit —

(a)        as consideration or as a condition for the employment of the foreign employee, whether by that person or any other person;

(b)        as consideration or as a condition for the continued employment of the foreign employee, whether by that person or any other person; or

(c)        as a financial guarantee related, in any way, to the employment of the foreign employee, whether by that person or any other person.”

2.               This is a serious offence that is punishable by a fine of up to $30,000, imprisonment of up to 2 years, or both.

3.               The Court in the recent case of Public Prosecutor v Boon Fuxin (Wen Fuxin) [2021] SGDC 130 imposed 4 weeks’ imprisonment for each charge under section 22A(1) EFMA. The reasons given by the Court for imposing imprisonment included that:

(a)             The Accused opportunistically sought to enrich himself by seeking monthly payments from the foreign workers as he knew that they would pay if they wanted to continue living illegally in Singapore.

(b)             Imposing only a fine for the section 22A(1)(b) offences in this case would not be appropriate as seeking payments to guarantee their continuing illegal in Singapore was akin to demanding a payment of a bribe which is a very serious offence.

(c)             There is a strong public interest in deterring the solicitation and receipt of kickbacks to facilitate the continuation of an offence and this requires the imposition of a custodial sentence.

4.               Errant companies are also liable to be barred from applying for new work passes and/or from renewing existing work passes.

5.               Members should put in place appropriate processes and mechanisms to detect cases of illegal kickbacks, including ensuring proper documentation of payments made by employees and implementing reporting mechanisms for employees.

EMAS encourages our members to closely monitor your operations and HR practices.

MOM: Implements New "Heighted Safety" Measures to Address...
02 Sep, Fri
  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has just announced a slate of new measures to strengthen workplace safety and health (WSH) and improve WSH oversight. These new measures and a state of  “Heightened Safety” is needed in view of the concerning rise in workplace fatalities this year.
  2. As of 1 September 2022, the number of workplace fatalities stands at 36 for 2022. This is very close to the 37 fatalities recorded in the whole of 2021. MOM recognises that some sectors are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and many companies are dealing with various challenges, such as catching up on delays in projects. However, companies cannot put safety on the back burner just to catch up on work progress or ramp up business activity. In doing so, companies are putting workers’ lives at risk. MOM and WSH Council will co-partner and help industries and companies be safer and strengthen our safety culture, and will implement the following measures to complement ongoing efforts. You can refer to the attached Press Release and Infographics (Annex A and A1) for more details.
    1. a) Introduce a six-month “Heightened Safety” period from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023, where MOM may debar companies from employing new foreign employees following fatal and serious accidents and require the CEOs to account personally to MOM for the accidents;
    2. b) Mandatory Safety Time-Out (STO) from 1 September to 15 September 2022;
    3. c) Strengthen support for SMEs who need help to improve their WSH practices and processes, through the expansion of StartSAFE:
    4. d) Setting up a Multi-Agency Workplace Safety Taskforce, supplemented by an external experts panel; and
    5. e) Expediting the implementation of the disqualification (DQ) framework and revised Demerit Point System (DPS) for the construction sector.
  1. In pt 2b, the mandatory STO from 1 to 15 Sep, will be applicable to the following companies. This STO should cover all workplace risks, not limited to only reinforcing vehicular safety. After the period of 1 to 15 Sep, MOM would be carrying out enforcement action to ensure that relevant companies carry out the STO. You may refer to Annex B for guidance in carrying out this STO.
    1. All companies in the construction, manufacturing, marine, process or transport and storage industries; and
    2. All companies in other industries, which use heavy or industrial vehicles (e.g. buses, lorries, prime movers, forklifts, cranes, wheel-loader).
  1. In pt 2c, StartSAFE is a programme that can help companies identify and manage workplace safety and health risks. Companies can sign up for StartSAFE via this link. Thank you.
  2. We seek your support to disseminate this accordingly within your organisation, where relevant.

Annex A

Annex A1

Annex B

NEA: New Environmental Sanitation Regime from 30 Jul 2021
29 Jul, Thu
High cleanliness and hygiene standards are some of the first lines of defence against public health threats. From 30 Jul 2021, the new environmental sanitation regime, which introduces mandatory baseline environmental sanitation standards, will be rolled out progressively at higher-risk premises with immuno-vulnerable occupants and at premises with high footfall. More than 3,000 of these specified premises, such as eldercare facilities and schools, are expected to implement the regime by 1 Mar 2022.
NEA has worked closely with various sectoral leads, such as MSF Singapore and Early Childhood Development Agency, to develop these sector-specific standards. To ensure that these standards are met, greater responsibility will be placed on appointed Premises Managers and Environmental Control Coordinators (ECCs) from these premises. About 350 ECCs have completed their 2-day training to develop the environmental sanitation programme for their premises. With baseline standards in place, we can together keep Singapore clean and safe for all. Learn more: www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/public-cleanliness/ESR
NTUC: Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners Report on PWM
07 Jun, Mon
The new report by Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners was released today. I would like to see the recommendations in the report as the start of a new normal on how we treat our essential service workers. This current crisis has forced many to re-think the value that, as a society, we are placing on essential service workers. If we truly value the work of our essential service workers, then it is time for all stakeholders to be bold and chart a new normal for this industry.
Wage Review
– In gist, general cleaners will see their wages increase from $1312 in 2022 to $2420 by 2028. This translates to a cumulative wage increase of 85% over 6 years or CAGR of 10.7%.
– For higher job roles (supervisor, mechanical driver), their cumulative wage growth is 63% or CAGR of 8.5%.
Enhanced Training Requirements
– All resident cleaners are required to attain one mandatory WSH module and another WSQ module by 31 Dec 2022. This is an increase of 1 extra module across the board.
– The total number of WSQ modules will be further increased to 3 modules for the lower job rungs and 4 modules for higher job rungs, taking effect in 2025.
EMAS wants to increase Membership (Clean Asia July/August...
02 Aug, Mon

The Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) recently held its 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the York Hotel in Singapore.

EMAS president Chew Bong Kong was on hand to update its members on the activities of the past work year and the plans for the coming year. Among the activities presented to the members was an update on the setting up of three new sub-committees (Accreditation, ISSC and EMAS Website & Publicity) to address the issues of concern in the industry.

Chew explained that EMAS has been working with the relevant government departments to solicit support for an accreditation scheme for cleaning service providers. He urged the members to work together to realise such a scheme and to help professionalise the industry and tem the plunging prices in the market.

In an answer to a question from the floor, Chew said that the criteria are currently being refined and are targeted to be in place by the end of this year.

With the aim becoming a voice for the cleaning industry in Singapore, EMAS will be embarking on a membership drive. The office bearers also urged members present at the AGM to actively recruit new members into EMAS.

For the accreditation scheme to be successful we need a larger membership base, noted Chew. We want potential members to know there are many benefits of membership.

According to Chew, among the benefits are helping members to keep abreast of development in the cleaning industry, advice on contractual and legal aspects of new and existing projects, keeping the members informed on new regulations implemented and discounted rates for training and upgrading programmes.

To attract new members, EMAS intends to organise talks, seminars and training sessions and undertake activities to generate awareness of EMAS. It is also putting out a membership directory for 2005.

Conservancy Performance Based Cleaning Standard Pilot Stu...
03 May, Thu

Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) spearheaded the pilot study of the benefits of implementing Performance Based Cleaning Standard based on TR 16:2003 – Technical Reference for Cleaning Performance for Public Housing Estates.

Three town councils – Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council, Hong Kah Town Council and East Coast Town Council will be piloting the use of TR 16, a benchmark and reference standard that specifies cleaning requirements and inspection criteria for the assessment of a cleaning job for public housing. With the use of TR16, Town Councils and cleaning service providers are encouraged to invest in automation, mechanisation and information technology so as to reduce the reliance on labour and yet achieve a more effective and efficient cleaning results.

In the pilot run, the three Town Councils, their respective cleaning service providers: Primech Services and Engineering Pte Ltd, Clean Solutions Pte Ltd and Ban Chuan Trading & Engineering Pte Ltd and with the support of EMAS, NEA and SPRING Singapore, will measure and qualify the benefits of implementing a performance-based cleaning system in public housing estates. The pilot study is assisted by the Students and Supervisors from Republic Polytechnic. A 3rd party consultant, United Premas Limited and i+o Asia (a partners of United Premas for the project) have been engaged to conduct the analysis.

The benefits will then be communicated to the rest of the cleaning industry to encourage other cleaning companies to adopt TR 16 as a measure of cleaning services.

World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) ...
02 Jan, Tue

EMAS was accepted as a Member Association of WFBSC in January 2018. The WFBSC is a dynamic union of national and international associations as well as individual contracting companies, manufacturers and suppliers from around the globe.

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Singapo...
14 Nov, Fri

EMAS signed a MOU with SRAA on 14 November 2014. The objectives of both organisations are to promote Workplace safety and health of the cleaning and custodian workers. For the purposes of advancing and promoting mutual interests of parties particularly in training and continual education of engineering and workplace safety and health professionals. With this invaluable partnership, EMAS has been invited by SRAA to receive a memento at their Opening Ceremony on 14 November 2014 at Chevrons.