WIC 2019 Bill to Provide Better Workplace Injury Coverage
Employees to Get Wider Coverage and Higher Pay-Outs for Workplace Injuries
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) introduced a new Work Injury Compensation Bill (WIC) 2019 to provide better coverage for Singapore employees.
The changes introduced by WIC 2019 Bill are meant to improve the system for both employers and employees alike. Approved insurers can access MOM’s claims data beginning 1 September 2020. This will enable them to verify that a company has declared their workforce and annual payroll.
Through the sharing of data, insurers can offer lower premiums to any company with a good work safety track record. Employers with more hazardous environments will need to pay higher premiums. However, they will be given greater commercial incentive to balance this out. This will allow them to put effective measures in place that minimised injuries from happening to begin with.
About 300,000 more of Singapore’s workforce is expected to benefit from the WIC bill. The new mandatory insurance will cover work-related injuries for those working in Singapore. There will be higher maximum pay-outs given too. Under WIC, any employee with light duties due to work injuries will also be eligible for medical leave wages for at least 2-weeks.
Any worker on light duties in Singapore should be paid what they earn monthly on average. This includes any bonuses, overtime and allowanced for the 2-week period. They will then be given two-thirds of this amount for up to one year from the time of the accident.
Objectives of the Work Injury Compensation Bill
WIC 2019 aims to minimize workplace injury by incentivising employers. Among the benefits include speedier claims processing, greater insurance coverage and better coverage for any employees injured on the job. Essentially, the Bill aims to provide a “balanced package” that aims to safeguard the interests of both parties.
If a company is found with poor safety records, they may be looking at the possibility of higher insurance premiums. More information will be available soon regarding this subject. As of 1 January 2020, the maximum compensation will be capped at $225,000 for injuries resulting in death. For permanent incapacitation, the maximum compensation given will be $289,000. These figures are 10% higher than the current pay-out numbers.
Maximum payments for medical expenses will also increase to $45,000 from the current $36,000. The increase in numbers reflects the rising cost of healthcare and wages in Singapore.
Per the new WIC 2019 Bill, any non-manual employee in Singapore earning up to $2,600 monthly will be covered by work injury compensation insurance. The rise in the salary threshold will be carried out in a 2-part stage. The first will take place 1 April 2020. The second rise will be a year later.
WIC 2019 mandates that employers must report any workplace injury incidents, and if employees are on light duties or medical leave because of the injury. This is to safeguard instances of employers trying to evade having to report incidences. The claims process will also be expedited. Compensation for permanent incapacitation can be claimed in as little as 6-months following the accident.
MOM intends to enforce penalties for any employer found not paying compensation, or withholding required documents for processing claims. The new WIC Bill will replace the current Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA). WICA was last amended in 2011.