Twelve Cupcakes pleads guilty to underpaying 7 employees over 2 years, founders said to have done the same

The prosecution is seeking a fine of S$127,000.

Syahindah Ishak | December 10, 2020, 09:36 PM

Twelve Cupcakes has pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 to underpaying seven foreign employees of about S$114,000 over two years.

A total of 14 similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing, according to The Straits Times.

Offences discovered during MOM investigations

In December 2018, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) investigated Twelve Cupcakes after receiving information that it had breached labour laws.

Under Singapore's Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, employers are not allowed to pay less than the fixed monthly salary to foreign employees.

Payment must also be made within seven days after the end of the salary period.

Investigations revealed that Twelve Cupcakes had underpaid seven foreign employees — ranging from sales executives, customer service executives and a pastry chef — between December 2016 and November 2018.

They were promised fixed salaries of between S$2,200 and S$2,600.

However, they were given between S$200 and S$1,200 less, reported CNA.

Prosecution asking for S$127,000 fine

The prosecution has asked for a fine of S$127,000, emphasising the fact that Twelve Cupcakes had tried to conceal their offences.

The company had initially credited the reduced salaries to the employees' bank accounts.

But from May 2018 onwards, they paid the workers their full salary, and subsequently told them to return a portion of it to the company in cash.

MOM prosecutor Maximilian Chew said, as reported by CNA, that Twelve Cupcakes would have "most likely continued the offences" if MOM had not conducted investigations.

Defence emphasises full restitution

On the other hand, the defence counsel argued that full restitution was made before the company was charged.

Defence lawyer S Balamurugan also stressed that since the incidents, there have been no salary issues for both local and foreign employees in Twelve Cupcakes.

Balmurugan added that it was the practice under Twelve Cupcake's previous management that foreign employees received less than their fixed salaries.

The sentencing of this case has been adjourned to Jan. 7, 2021.

For each offence involving underpaying its foreign employees, Twelve Cupcakes may be fined up to $10,000.

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Top images from Twelve Cupcakes Website.