Work Injury Compensation Act: What is It and How You Can Manage the Risk
Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) is a statutory requirement for all Singapore employers. With WICA, it is much easier for employees to make claims for work-related injuries and illness. This means that as an employer, you are facing a potential employer’s liability from WICA-related claims.
This article will share with you more information about WICA, and how as an employer, you can manage the risk with WIC insurance.
What is WICA?
Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) allows employees to claim for work-related injuries or diseases in the course of their employment from their employer. It is mandatory under the Singapore law that employer has to compensate their employees should they get injured in the course of their work.
Under WICA, regardless of the level of salaries, employees are eligible to make a claim even if he no longer works for the employer, or the accident happened during an overseas assignment. If the employee died because of a workplace accident, the dependents of the affected employees can file a claim against the employer.
Employees can make the claims without engaging a lawyer under WICA.
What can employees claim under WICA?
If your employee suffered work-related injury or disease in the course of employment, he is eligible to claim:
Wages during the medical leave due to work-related injury or disease
Medical expenses incurred
Lump sum compensation for permanent incapacity or death
How are Employers Affected by WICA?
The purpose of WICA is to protect employees. With WICA, employees do not have to go through the long and expensive process of making claims against employers under the common law.
However, WICA also exposes employers to potential liability when their employees are making claims against them. Some examples where employees can claim under WICA are:
Your employee suffered a work-related injury during an overseas assignment. For example, you sent your staff to monitor an overseas construction project, and he suffered an injury at the site.
Your employee met with an accident while taking company transport (which is not a public transport) to and fro home and workplace.
Commuting accidents during work and for work purpose, for example, traveling to client’s office for a meeting, and he did not make any personal detour.
Your delivery driver suffered a traffic accident in the course of delivering goods to your customers or on behalf of your clients.
For more information on the payment limit, you may refer to the Ministry of Manpower FAQs on WICA.
Besides WICA, employees can also file a lawsuit against you under common law.
Managing WICA Risks using Work Injury Compensation (WIC) Insurance
One way you can manage your risks as an employer is to purchase a WIC insurance. Most WIC insurance available in the market will cover your liability should an employee make a claim against you.
If you have employees who are doing manual work or employees who are doing non-manual work who earn less than S$1,600 per month, WIC insurance is compulsory. If you only have employees doing non-manual work who earn more than S$1,600 per month, you will still be liable should your employee file a claim against you.
We recommend companies in the following industries to purchase WIC insurance:
Courier or delivery services
Oil and gas
Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO)
These industries have higher risks of employees suffer a work-related injury.
Also, WIC insurance only covers work-related injury and disease suffered by your employee. It does not include the damages cause by your employees.
For example, if you are operating a delivery service. Due to your driver’s negligence, he suffered injuries from an accident caused by him. This accident also causes damages to other vehicles. Only the injuries suffered by your employee is claimable under WIC insurance.
If you want coverages for damages suffered by others, you can consider buying a public liability insurance also.
Key Considerations in Complying with WICA and buying WIC Insurance
Safety Protocols and Training
The best way to manage risks is always reducing the chances of it happening in the first place. If you are operating in one of the above high-risk industry, you should have safety protocols and appropriate training in place. If your employee is a new hire, make sure that he is operating machinery or performing the work under supervision.
With these safety protocols and training in place, not only you will have less hassle in dealing with the claims, you will likely to have cheaper premiums due to your clean claim history.
Also, no employees would love to work in an environment that is unsafe. Providing a safe working environment will allow you to attract and retain talents.
Reporting to Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
You are required to report to the MOM when the following occur:
If your employee makes a claim for injury;
Work-related accident if one of the following applies:
Death of an employee;
The employee has to take more than 3 days of medical certificate; or
The employee was hospitalised for at least 24 hours.
If you have purchased a WIC insurance, you should also notify your insurer.
You can find out more about the reporting requirements of WICA from MOM.
Costs of WIC Insurance
The cost of WIC insurance depends on your nature of business, claims history, place of employment and the job scope of your employee. You may contact us for a free consultation and quotation.
Self-Employed or Sole-Proprietor
If you are self-employed or a sole-proprietor, WICA and WIC insurance does not apply to you. In this case, you should purchase a personal accident insurance.
Reputable Insurance Company and Agent
If you decided to buy a WIC insurance to manage your liability, be sure to buy from a reputable insurance company and agent.
WICA and employers’ liability can be tricky. A well-qualified agent will be able to advise on your requirements and needs.
Every Singapore’s employer has to comply with WICA. With proper safety procedures, you can reduce your risk. You can also transfer these risk using WIC insurance.
If you are interested in purchasing a WIC insurance for your business, please contact us for a free consultation. We love to speak to you!