Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wage Theft in Local Construction

We all know that the works in a construction industry involves dirt and hard manual labor. But aside from the usual dirt that is involved in the construction site, there is also the existence of dirty business inside the administration, far from the prying and hard stares of hardworking laborers who risk their lives every day.

Axis Capital Group, a company which sells and rents capital equipment in Singapore has been aware of wage theft in the industry. Ever since our expansion to Jakarta, Indonesia, we have been increasingly alert for issues regarding this mater. In fact, we have put warnings to our partner companies and clients as well.

Wage theft is a rampant problem in the non-union construction industry and it drives down standards for all workers. It is the unlawful withholding of wages or benefits due to an employee. It can take many different forms – from illegal “deductions” from an employee’s pay to outright not paying an employee at all.

Here are the different forms of wage theft that you should be aware of:

1. Overtime
According to the law, unless exempt, employees are entitled to receive overtime pay calculated at least time and one-half times pay for all time worked past forty hours a week. Some exemptions to this rule apply to public service agencies or to employees who meet certain requirements in accordance to their job duties.

Since some unseen factors like the weather may hinder meeting deadlines, construction companies usually extend man hours even until at night despite complaints filed against noise pollution. In these cases, some companies would only pay regular fees to their manpower, not counting the overtime done by their employees.

2. Minimum wage
Since in some cases, manual labor is considered as one of the dirtiest job and blue-collared jobs are considered to be in the lowest rank in society, manual laborers ae also paid in the lowest rate.

3. Misclassification
Misclassification of employees is a violation that leaves employees very vulnerable to other forms of wage theft. Independent contractors do not receive the same protection as an employee for certain benefits. The difference between the two classifications depends on the permanency of the employment, opportunity for profit and loss, the worker's level of self-employment along with their degree of control. An independent contractor is not entitled to minimum wage, overtime, insurance, protection, or other employee rights. Attempts are sometimes made to define ordinary employees as independent contractors.

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