What is the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)
Under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA), an employer is liable to compensate an employee for death, sickness or injuries arising out of and during the period of employment.
The employer can also be sued for damages sustained by the employee. The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) lets employees make claims for work-related injuries or diseases without having to file a civil suit under common law. It is a quicker alternative to the common law for settling compensation claims.
Employees can claim under WICA if they are injured in a work accident or suffered a disease due to work. Injured employees don’t have to engage a lawyer to file a WICA claim.
Some employer may have used alternative policy to replace WICA, such as using Group Personal Accident (GPA). We will cover this subject in another discussion. WICA vs GPA.
Who is not covered The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) covers any employee who is under a contract of apprenticeship, contract of service, regardless of salary.
It doesn’t cover:
Independent contractors and the self-employed.
Uniformed personnel - members of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force,
Singapore Civil Defence Force, Central Narcotics Bureau and Singapore Prison Service.
What Employer needs to know?
Employees remain eligible to claim for compensation even if:
they no longer work for the employer or even if their work pass is cancelled.
the accident happened while employees were on an overseas assignment.
Dependents of the employee who died because of a workplace accident can also make a claim on behalf of the employee.
Scenarios covered under Work Injury Compensation Act
An employee working in the workshop and amputated his finger while operating the cutting machine for the company’s project.
Travelling to or from work while taking company vehicle.
Travelling to a work-related engagement (meeting, site visit etc.).
Injured while working on a Singapore-registered vessel, anywhere in the world.
Overseas work assignment.
An employee injured himself when he slips and falls at work.
An employee injured himself in a work-related fight where he was a victim and did not
participate in the fight, or acting in self-defence or he was instructed to break up the fight.
Types of compensation under Work Injury Compensation Act
There are three main categories of compensations benefits
Medical leave wages for days you were issued with medical leave due to the work injury or disease.
Medical expenses, including your hospital bills, medication and other charges, due to the work injury.
Lump sum compensation for permanent incapacity or death.
Changes to Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) in 2016
From 1 January 2016, the maximum and minimum compensation limits for death and total permanent incapacity under WICA will be increased. The cap on medical expenses will also be increased.
Activities such as case management, functional capacity evaluation and worksite assessment for purposes of rehabilitating injured workers are introduced to encourage a speedy recovery and helping injured employee to return to work earlier will be claimable as part of WICA medical expenses.
It is not mandatory for employers to buy insurance for all other employees. However, employers will still be required to pay compensation in the event of a valid claim under the WICA, even if they do not buy insurance for exempted employees.
Note: Failure to maintain adequate insurance is an offence punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months.