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Migrant worker in Singapore left incomeless after Sept 2022 workplace injury

A Bangladeshi worker paid S$7,260 for his first job in Singapore in 2019.

Just as he neared debt clearance, tragedy struck in September last year, a fall from a step ladder left him severely injured.

As shared by TWC2, despite ongoing physiotherapy, he’s received only four months’ medical leave wages, rendering him incomeless.

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SINGAPORE: Liton, a Bangladeshi worker employed in a shipyard, faced a tragic workplace accident in early September 2022.

Despite ongoing physiotherapy since the incident last year, he has received only four months of medical leave wages, leaving him without income.

Having borrowed S$7,260 to secure a job in Singapore in November 2019, Liton cleared his debts only to suffer another misfortune. Shortly after, he fell from a step ladder, abruptly terminating his employment.

Liton is a recent case attended by Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), a non-profit organization advocating for fair treatment of migrant workers in Singapore.

In a recent article published on TWC2’s official website, Liton was entitled to approximately S$600 (approximately US$450) in medical leave wages per month during his four months of recovery.

However, payment details provided by his employer displayed gross amounts ranging between S$300 to S$400 for those months.

The advocacy group for migrant workers emphasized the frequency of migrant workers being either unpaid or receiving incorrect amounts for their medical leave wages.

“It’s the rare migrant worker who even knows what formula to apply to check whether the amount he receives is correct. This is where the help TWC2 provides is crucial.”

S$7,260 paid to an agent in 2019 to land a job in Singapore

According to TWC2, Liton stated that in 2019, he paid approximately four lakhs fifty thousand taka, equivalent to S$7260, to an agent in Bangladesh to secure a job at the Singapore shipyard.

TWC2 highlighted that this scenario is common for first-time migrant workers coming to Singapore. Typically, they are unfamiliar with agents in Singapore and have dealings only with individuals in their home country.

“However, this does not mean that all the money stayed in Bangladesh. Given such a large sum, there would have been plenty for sharing with various vested interests in Singapore too.”

TWC2 mentioned instances where individuals in Singapore, including the employer or a company manager, may have received a share of the agent’s fee.

Nonetheless, it remains uncertain whether Liton’s case follows a similar pattern.

Liton borrowed this sum from four relatives and friends, taking two years to repay the debts, including the challenging period during the 2020 pandemic when shipyards remained closed for several months, depriving him of work. Only thereafter could he begin saving.

Consequently, it was primarily in 2021 and 2022 when he had sufficient income to allocate about S$300 per month to repay his creditors.

Unfortunately, just as Liton was on the brink of settling his debts and establishing financial stability, misfortune struck.

In September 2022, Liton, who was working at the shipyard at the far end of Tuas, suffered a fall from a three-meter height while descending a step ladder into the hold of a ship.

Liton recounted to TWC2 volunteers that he barely able to get up by himself at the time.

Luckily, it was a busy workplace with many workers around, so help came quickly.

A bumpy ride on a truck to a small clinic 30km away

Instead of being transported to the nearest Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, situated approximately 10km from his workplace, Liton was directed to a small clinic in Lavender, located 30km away.

He endured a rough ride on the flatbed of a truck to reach the clinic. However, the doctor deemed his injuries beyond their capacity and recommended transfer to a better-equipped facility.

Subsequently, Liton was returned to the truck and driven an additional 3km to the Novena area, home to a private hospital and specialist clinics.

There, an X-ray was taken, pain relief administered, and he was sent back to his dormitory.

When asked whether the doctor certified him with a medical leave, Liton mentioned that all documentation was taken by a representative of the company.

“Shouldn’t medical records always be considered the property of the patient? Why did the clinic pass medical records to third parties?” TWC2 asserted.

As the painkiller’s effects waned in the dormitory that evening, Liton experienced severe discomfort once again, prompting him to seek help.

With the help of a roommate, he called for an ambulance that transported him to Ng Teng Fong Hospital.

Here, another X-ray was conducted, additional pain relief was provided, and he was granted a seven-day medical leave by the attending doctor.

Liton’s medical leave wages don’t match up

The initial seven-day medical leave was extended multiple times during subsequent doctor’s visits at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, totalling around four months.

Liton reported that his earnings fluctuated between S$800 and S$1,200, with an average likely around S$900.

While TWC2 estimated that he should have received approximately S$600 in medical leave wages per month, Liton claimed to have received only S$300 to S$400 for each of those months, raising discrepancies in his payment.

TWC2 highlighted that Section 17(1) of the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) says:

17.—(1) Where any work injury results in the temporary incapacity of an employee, the compensation the employer is liable under this Act to pay to the employee is a periodical payment that is —
(a) an amount specified in the First Schedule; and
(b) payable not later than the same day as earnings would have been payable to the employee under the contract of service under which the employee was employed at the time of the accident, except that the interval between periodical payments must not exceed one month.

“Temporary incapacity” is synonymous with medical leave, and compensation for temporary incapacity is the same as medical leave wages.

In Section 4(1) of the First Schedule, a rather complicated formula for calculating medical leave wages is laid out. In essence, the amount is linked to the employee’s Average Monthly Earnings (AME) in the twelve months prior to the accident. Section 4(1) begins:

(a) for the first 60 days of hospitalisation leave — the employee’s AME;
(b) for any subsequent days of hospitalisation leave — two‑thirds of the employee’s AME;

“It is remarkable how often workers are either not paid, or not paid correctly when they are injured,” stated TWC2, highlighting that a TWC2 case officer is actively aiding Liton in a meticulous examination of his medical leave wages.

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Ask the Leaders for Data … Dun just ding dong migrants today tomo citizens. Publish all the data of Unemployment in working age groups,migrants and citizens and PR … Ask them to publish all the datas …

Then job created WHERE???

And the stuck in the middle Political Entities as well with Slavery intent.

All the problems they created to enrich themselves.

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