Two security agencies charged for making officers work more than 12 hours daily

SINGAPORE – In a move to guard against unacceptable work practices, two private security agencies have been hauled up over staff working between 17 and 20 hours a day.

Erawan Security Services and Volantra Security were each charged on Thursday (Oct 14) under the Employment Act with making their officers work more than 12 hours a day on multiple days between February and March this year.

Erawan faces two charges and Volantra three.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) inspected about 200 private security agencies from April to August, checking for compliance with working hours and overtime limits.

It found that about a third of the agencies had breaches.

While most of these were minor, the ministry said it would be taking action against 15 of them for exceeding the working hour limits.

In a release on Thursday, MOM said its investigations found that the security officers from Erawan and Volantra were made to work back-to-back shifts.

It added that stakeholders have been working to improve the wages and well-being of some 50,000 security officers since the formation of the Security Tripartite Cluster in 2013.

The cluster consists of representatives from the unions, employers, services buyers and the Government. In 2017, it made recommendations to remove overtime exemption for the sector from January 2021.

The Government accepted this, and the security sector is no longer exempt from the limit of 72 overtime hours per month.

MOM’s director of employment standards enforcement department, Ms Christine Loh, said it is committed to safeguarding the welfare of 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,” she added.

“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.”

Those with information on breaches are advised to report the matter to MOM via its website. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Errant employers found flouting the Employment Act may be fined up to $5,000 for each offence.

Repeat offenders may be jailed up to a year and fined up to $10,000.

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