The High Court on 26 August ruled on the case of former bus driver Chua Qwong Meng suing SBS Transit, finding that his allegations that SBS Transit violated the employment regulations were unfounded, and therefore dismissed all his allegations against SBS Transit.

Singaporean, Chua Qwong Meng, filed a lawsuit in court accusing his former employer SBS Transit of violating employment laws in arranging working hours, rest days and calculating overtime pay.

Chua Qwong Meng also pointed out that SBS Transit had several times made him work for at least seven days before taking a day off, and that the overtime hours in a month exceeded the legal 72 hours.

After hearing the confessions of both the prosecution and the defense, the court found that Chua Qwong Meng’s statement about SBS Transit’s violation of the regulations could not be substantiated, and ruled to dismiss all his allegations.

High Court Judge Audrey Lim said in a written judgment that Chua Qwong Meng’s allegations that SBS Transit compelled him to work on his rest days “all the time” and given disciplinary notices if he refused are bare assertions unsupported by independent evidence.

Regarding the time card submitted by Chua to the court, the judge believed that the time card and other evidence submitted by SBS Transit showed that SBS Transit was complying with the relevant regulations, and Chua could not prove how SBS Transit violated these regulations.

As for Chua’s allegation that SBS Transit has repeatedly asked him to work for at least seven consecutive days before he was given one day off, the judge said that employers have the right to allow employees to take any day off within seven days of the week. Although Chua believes that some employers may abuse the regulations, giving employees the first day of the week and the last day of the week off (meaning they may have to work 12 consecutive days), the judge found no evidence that SBS Transit had asked Chua to do so.

In response to Chua’s allegation that SBS Transit gave him less than 45 minutes of rest time, 25 minutes of meal time and 10 minutes of toilet time during his eight-hour working time, the judge also said that Chua failed to provide strong evidence, and the judge reminded that under the existing regulations, employers have the right to split the rest period, but the total time must not be less than 45 minutes. At the same time, according to the evidence submitted by SBS Transit, it was found that SBS Transit did give Chua enough time to eat, which is about 25 to 36 minutes.

Chua was a bus captain at SBS Transit from April 2017 to February 2020. His case is also seen as a ‘test case’ for 12 other drivers who are also suing SBS Transit.

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