Tampines Metis preschool closure: Educarers claim salaries not paid

A staff that had started work in June claimed the school had no cleaner or HR.

Tharun Suresh | July 10, 2024, 04:16 PM



Not only parents were affected by the Metis Little Campus Tampines outlet's abrupt closure on Jul. 2, 2024.

A former staff of the preschool in Tampines told Mothership that she and some of the staff were owed their salaries.

The former staff member, who wished to be identified only as K, claimed the school's managing director, Jacqueline Lau, had been "missing in action" after the school notified parents and staff of the closure on Jul. 1, 2024.

What happened

In a letter to teachers on Jul. 1, seen by Mothership, Lau notified them of the school's immediate closure, claiming that the company had to file for bankruptcy.

She said that preparations were being made for a transfer of licence to another preschool operator, and the transfer was slated to be completed by August.

However, she claimed that the rental agreement the school had with the building management didn't successfully transfer to the new operator.

She also claimed to have to borrow money to keep the school going.

Lau also claimed that the school's bank account was frozen, and they were not able to collect any fees or pay staff their salaries.

"I am sorry for any inconvenience caused, and we will do our best to help in any way possible," Lau said in the letter.

Payments delayed, no CPF contributions

K told Mothership that she had taken up the job at the preschool after Lau offered her the job on Facebook.

After starting work on Jun. 3, 2024, she claimed she realised there was "no principal, cleaner, or HR in the centre."

On her second day of work at the centre, K claims that other staff advised her to find another centre to work at because "the director doesn't pay on time and does not contribute to CPF".

K soon tendered her resignation on Jun. 10, and has since informed the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) about not receiving her salary or CPF contributions.

K said that the closure did not just affect her financially but also took up her time.

While juggling work, she has had to liaise with ECDA, MOM and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) to resolve the matter.

"I find it irresponsible of Ms Jacqueline to leave the teachers to settle her problem and not find a solution to this mess," K said. "She expects all of us to work for her for free."  

ECDA helping affected parents

In response to Mothership, ECDA said that it has since barred Lau, the preschool's operator, from applying for any new Early Childhood Development Centre licences in the future.

ECDA said that preschools are required to provide six months' notice to parents and ECDA prior to ceasing operations to allow parents sufficient notice to make alternative arrangements for their children.

ECDA also noted that this is the centre operator's second preschool to cease operations on short notice.

Metis Little Campus's outlet in Redhill ceased operations on Apr. 8, 2024, after being evicted by their landlord, according to an article by ST

ECDA said:

"ECDA’s priority is on the continuity of care of children. We have reached out to all affected parents to assist with alternative preschool placements.

Parents who require further assistance can approach ECDA at [email protected]."

Top photo from Metis Preschool Tapestry/Facebook