Everything you need to know about the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)

Being a business owner in Singapore, there are many different facets to a running business. More than just profits and growth, you need to comply with the laws and rules that apply to your business and manage the risks that your business faces.

Why should you purchase work injury compensation (WIC) insurance for all employees?

While your company is not required by the Work Injury Compensation (WIC) Act to purchase WIC insurance for non-manual employees who earn more than S$2,100^, your company is still liable for claims from them. Depending on the number of such employees, the incidence of such injuries and diseases the sums compensated can quickly exceed the insurance premiums had these employees been covered under WIC insurance.

As a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) in Singapore, a small number but large work-related injury or disease claims can do significant financial damage to your company. 

What is the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)?

In Singapore, the WICA is the law that lets employees make claims for work-related injuries and diseases, without having to take legal action.

WICA also makes it easier and less complicated for employees to settle for compensation, as claims will be filed directly to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

As an employer, you are liable to compensate your employee regardless of who is at fault, even if your employee no longer works for you.

Who does WICA cover?

WICA covers all employees, under a contract of an employer or contract of apprenticeship – regardless of age and nationality.

However, WICA does not cover self-employed individuals, domestic workers and uniformed personnel of the Singapore government.

As an employer, it is mandatory to purchase Work Injury Compensation Insurance for all employees, both local and foreign who:

  • Are manual workers, regardless of the salary level
  • Are non-manual workers, and are earning less than S$2,100^ monthly

What are claims under WICA?

Work Injury Claim Insurance (WIC insurance) covers and pays for the claims made by the employee under WICA. However, the employer is still liable for compensation should a valid claim even if there is no WIC insurance in place.

These are some scenarios which an employee is covered under WICA:

  • Meet with a traffic accident while taking company transport between home and the workplace. The vehicle is not a public transport.
  • Meet with a traffic accident when travelling during work and for work purposes (e.g. travel from workplace to venue for a meeting), regardless of the mode of transport. No personal detour was taken.
  • Suffer a work-related injury during an overseas assignment.
  • Injured in a work-related fight where the employee was a victim and did not participate in the fight, or were injured while exercising private defence or instructed to break up the fight, safeguard life or property, or maintain law and order.
  • Suffer medical conditions such as heart attack or stroke that are due to work.

When insurers take over the processing of WIC claims, employers are still required to submit an incident report to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

What does WICA do for both employers and employees?

WICA provides a transparent framework for work injury compensation. This would make claims and compensation faster and more streamlined for both employers and employees.

Key Changes to WICA

WICA 2019 requires all insurers to process all insured claims, to ensure a smoother claims process that benefits everyone.

  • Changes in compensation and medical expenses limits.
  • Expand mandatory insurance coverage to non-manual employees, regardless of where they work.
  • Expand the scope of compensation to include light duties.
  • Compulsory reporting for any instance of medical leave or light duties issued for a work accident.

Please refer to this for the full breakdown of the changes to WICA.

^ Threshold for mandatory purchase of WICA for non-manual workers will be increased to S$2,600 from 1st April 2021.

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