Employers must cover foreign worker medical bills, says MOM

by Miklos Bolza23 Dec 2015
In response to a recent letter written in The Straits Times, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has said that employers are responsible for paying for medical treatment for all foreign work pass holders.
“Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations, employers are responsible for providing and bearing the cost of medical treatment (including non-work related) for their Work Permit or S Pass holders,” the ministry said.
The responsibility will be made known to all employers during the work pass application process.
Employers are also obligated to provide medical insurance coverage of at least S$15,000 per year for all Work Permit and S Pass holders.
MOM’s statement comes after a letter written in The Straits Times by Dr Joanna Chan Shi-En, a senior resident in emergency medicine.
Dr Chan wrote of her concerns about foreign workers in Singapore who refused medical treatment out of fear that they would not be able to cover costs.
“Among doctors, there are many anecdotal accounts of migrant workers who refuse emergency life-saving treatment for conditions such as heart attacks, and risk permanent disability or death because their companies will not pay for non-work-related illnesses,” she said.
MOM’s response shows that the medical costs for Work Permit and S Pass holders are indeed the employer’s responsibility. Anyone caught breaching their obligations will also be reported directly to the Ministry.
Employers of S Pass holders who breach these rules are liable for a fine up to S$10,000 and/or a jail term of up to 12 months. Penalties for employers of work permit holders depend on the type of permit and the situation.
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