Between December 2016 and November 2018, India-based tea company Dhunseri Group—which had acquired Twelve Cupcakes—underpaid seven foreign employees. The employees had been promised fixed monthly salaries of between $2,200 and $2,600. However, the employees were given between $200 and $1,200 less than the agreed salaries.
The company tried to hide its shady employment practices by crediting the agreed salaries to the employees’ accounts, then asking them to return the difference in cash to avoid leaving a paper trail.
Nonetheless, the truth eventually came to light when the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) received information about this and carried out investigations on Twelve Cupcakes in December 2018
The company pleaded guilty to 15 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and was fined S$119,500 on 12 January 2021.
The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act
According to the MOM website, the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) regulates the employment of foreign employees and protects their well-being by prescribing the responsibilities and obligations for employing foreign employees in Singapore.
Some of the offences committed by Twelve Cupcakes under the EFMA included: paying less than the fixed monthly salary due to the foreign employee for the month, and making payment later than seven days after the end of the salary period.
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