The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) solely prevails in Singapore as a way for employees to make claims for work-related injuries or diseases without having to file a civil suit under common law.
For example, an employee may file a WICA claim without having to pay for a lawyer in the occurrence of an accident or disease due to work. Moreover, WICA enables Singapore citizens and foreign workers to switch from a doctor to another without needing their employer’s approval. WICA applies to professional workers and manual workers except for the police, the army, and foreign domestic workers.
According to the Ministry of Manpower, employees may claim under WICA medical expenses, medical leave wages and lump sum payments for permanent incapacity or death. In short, The Work Injury Compensation Act is a statute that acts as an alternative to a lawsuit and helps employees make claims for work-related injuries or diseases to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) at a reduced cost.
WICA was introduced in an effort to increase work transparency and improve employees’ situation. Some of the issues facing employees before WICA’s implementation include a delay in workers’ compensation, numerous disputes related to a worker's salary due to deficient documentary evidence, having harmed workers performing light duties ending up in worse conditions than those on medical leave.
Employers also faced constraints as they sometimes were not able to claim through their insurance companies notwithstanding purchasing insurance as a result of policy exclusions. Furthermore, claims were often delayed as insurance companies had to double down their effort by verifying evidence that the Ministry of Manpower already procured.
Why is WICA important for companies
Under WICA 2019 companies are legally obliged to obtain work injury compensation insurance for all manual workers, and non-manual workers whose earning is equivalent to $1,600 or less a month. On the other hand, employers have the freedom to choose whether to purchase insurance for non-manual work employees earning more than $1,600 a month.
Nonetheless, in the case of a sound claim, uninsured employers will be forced to compensate their employees themselves. In a nutshell, WICA is crucial for companies conducting business in Singapore as it is mandatory and considerably improves transparency.
Moreover, the Work Injury Compensation Act creates an unprecedented level of certainty for employers. Indeed, employers may attempt to retrieve full compensation paid to the claimant in case of deceptive information or error.
Key Changes to WICA in 2020
Recent changes in WICA took effect in 2020 and the 4 main amendments are:
1. The expansion of compulsory insurance coverage to non-manual employees
The salary threshold of mandatory insurance coverage for non-manual employees has been increased in 2020 and went from $1,600 to $2,100. This limit will further be expanded in 2021 to $2,600. However, it is important to keep in mind that employers are still obliged to get insurance for all manual employees, regardless of salary.
2. Changes in compensation and medical expenses limits
With effect from 1 Jan 2020, the limits in compensation and medical expenses have been increased by an average of 20%. This applies to the compensation for death, total permanent incapacity as well as the maximum limit for medical expenses.
3. The expansion of the scope of compensation to include light duties
With the evolution of WICA, employees on light duties due to work injuries will be compensated for their lost earnings based on their Average Monthly Earnings.
4. The mandatory reporting for any instance of medical leave or light duties issued for work accident
This change to WICA will be in effect on September 1st, 2020 and will also force employers to report medical leave or light duties to MOM when it is due to work.
BLACAZ’s competency at handling WICA for your company
BLACAZ has handled WICA insurance for various corporate clients. Along with the expertise and thorough analysis of your situation as an employer, BLACAZ provides the right solution for your needs and will take care of the WICA insurance required for your company. WICA has provided greater transparency for both workers and employers and was implemented to improve workers’ status.
Although the Work Injury Compensation Act is fairly recent and has thoroughly evolved within the course of a year, BLACAZ can properly guide your business and accompany you throughout the insurance process to ensure the long-term viability of your company as well as its compliance to WICA. Feel free to contact us and we will make sure that your company gets the insurance it deserves.