CPF Board recovers $516m
They were called "interim full-timers", working full hours but not getting any Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions from their employer, an advertising firm.
Usually, an employer has to contribute a certain percentage of a worker's salary to their CPF accounts, dependent on the age of the employee.
Miss S, a freelancer working for the firm in 2014, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was puzzled by the arrangement.
For some of her colleagues, this had gone on for more than two years.
She said: "I wasn't expecting freelancers like myself to get any CPF contribution in this industry, but it wasn't right that the 'interim full timers' weren't receiving any funds.
"They were working full hours for the firm.
"I guess they weren't aware or they didn't know that it wasn't right for a company to not contribute any CPF to its employees."
After consulting her family and a lawyer friend, she eventually blew the whistle on the company.
She e-mailed the Manpower Ministry and a CPF officer contacted her for details of the case.
Last year, the CPF Board recovered about $516 million in CPF arrears - the highest amount recovered in the past four years.
Of this sum, about $15 million was from 1,840 employers underpaying or completely not paying CPF contributions for 14,708 employees.
One logistics company owed $2 million in CPF arrears, having not paid for 70 drivers over eight years.
The remaining $500 million recovered was made up of late CPF contributions from an average of about 5,600 firms each month.
Miss S, now 26, has since quit working with the company and is pursuing a higher degree.
The advertising firm she used to work for was found to have owed $1.6 million for about 300 employees.
The amount has since been recovered by the CPF Board.
Late or non-payment of CPF contributions is a criminal offence under the CPF Act.
Looking back on the entire affair, Miss S said she did not regret speaking out.
"It's about being ethical and respecting your employees' rights, because some of them are actually unaware of their rights, and nothing was being done," she said.
"I'm glad that action was taken.
"It's just shocking to hear that there was that much in arrears."
Penalties under CPF Act
First time offenders of underpayment or non-payment of CPF contributions can face up to a $5,000 court fine and no less than $1,000 per offence and/or up tosix months' imprisonment.
Subsequent offenders can face up to a $10,000 court fine and no less than $2,000 per offence and/or up to 12 months' imprisonment.
There were 36 convictions for underpayment or non-payment in 2015.
There were 237 convictions for late payment.
Past CPF arrears
$293 million benefiting more than 200,000 local workers.
$420 million benefiting more than 250,000 local employees.
$378 million benefiting more than 288,000 employees.