TODAY, 28 Jul 2016, Robot Kitty event staff lodge reports over unpaid salaries
Event organiser: Mighty Eight
Director of Mighty Eight: Mr Jacky Teo Choon Leng
Incorporated: 19 August 2014
Paid-up capital: S$500,000.
They are in a bind because the contract they signed was a ‘contract for service’ instead of ‘contract of service’. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website, those under contract for service are independent contractors. They are not covered by the Employment Act and statutory benefits do not apply.
The staff told TODAY that while some of them have made police reports and have spoken to MOM officers, they were advised to seek their own legal advice, or to make claims at the Small Claims Tribunal, given the nature of their contract.
Mr Shashi Nathan, a partner at Withers KhattarWong, said for contract for service, “if you are not paid, it is a breach of contract” and the workers would have to sue the company if they want to move forward.
The contract, which signifies an agreement between two parties, may not always be a criminal matter, he added. “The police may not in all cases investigate. They will only investigate if a criminal offence has been disclosed, for example if there’s an element of cheating or deceiving somebody to enter into a contract.”
However, the outcome of the civil claim will depend on whether the company has money to pay them back, he said. “Even if you get a judgement against somebody, if he has no money it is just a paper judgement. Even if you bankrupt him you may be at the back of the queue…Other creditors who have secured debts with him like banks or Government agencies are way before an individual.”