Public Consultation on proposed enhancements to Work Injury Compensation Act

MOM

Ministry of Manpower - Occupational Safety and Health Division

Consultation Period: 30 Mar 2015 - 20 Apr 2015
Status: Closed
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Summary

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is inviting members of the public to give feedback on the proposed amendments to the Third Schedule of the Work Injury Compensation Act.

Detailed Description

PROPOSED ENHANCEMENTS TO WORK INJURY COMPENSATION ACT

AIM
            The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is inviting members of the public to give feedback on the proposed amendments to the Third Schedule of the Work Injury Compensation Act.

 BACKGROUND

2.                  The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) provides injured employees with a low-cost and expeditious no-fault alternative to common law to settle compensation claims. Under WICA, an employer is liable to pay compensation regardless of whether the employee is at fault, as long as an employee suffers an injury by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment. In exchange, the employer’s liability for compensation is capped.
 
3.                  An employee may claim for medical expenses, medical leave wages and, where applicable, lump-sum compensation for permanent incapacity (PI) or death.  An employee can also claim compensation if he contracts an occupational disease (OD) which is listed in the Second Schedule of the WICA or if the disease is contracted due to work-related exposure to chemical or biological agents.
 
4.                  The amount of compensation and the corresponding limits are specified under the Third Schedule of WICA. The Third Schedule also clarifies the types of medical treatment compensable.
 
PROPOSED ENHANCEMENTS
 
5.                  MOM conducts regular reviews on WICA compensation limits to ensure that payouts under the WICA remain relevant. The existing WICA compensation limits were set in 2012 based on the 2010 median wage of resident employees. Median nominal wage of resident employees has since increased by some 20%. Medical bills for industrial accidents had also increased over the same period1. Hence, it is timely to review the compensation limits.
 
A.                 Higher WICA Compensation Limits
 
6.                  The table below shows the current WICA compensation limits for death, permanent incapacity and medical expenses: 

 

   Limits  Current Limit 
 Death   Min  $57,000
 Max  $170,000
  Total PI2  Min  $73,000
 Max   $218,000
 Medical Expenses
   Up to $30,000 or 1 year from date of accident, whichever is reached first

 

 

[1] Based on industrial accident hospitalisation bill data from MOH
[2] This excludes the additional 25% compensation that is paid to workers with total permanent incapacity to offset the cost of care for the injured worker
 
7.                   MOM proposes to revise WICA compensation limits to reflect the increase in median wages of resident employees. MOM will also take into account how such an increase might impact overall business costs.

B.                 Covering expenditures that facilitate early return to work

8.                  Besides ensuring that WICA’s payouts remain relevant, it is also important to help injured employees recover and get back to work as quickly as possible.  Early intervention to rehabilitate injured employees not only aids their recovery, it also gives them assurance in terms of job and income security. For employers, they too benefit when employees, especially the skilled and experienced ones, return to work early.
   
9.                  To help rehabilitate injured employees back to work, MOM proposes that expenditures that facilitate early return to work be claimable as part of WICA medical expenses. Such costs could include those incurred in engaging a professional to develop a return to work plan, to assess the work environment and to provide recommendations to employers on how to better accommodate their injured employees.

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES

10.              The necessary legislative changes are expected to take effect in 2016. 

PERIOD OF CONSULTATION

11.              MOM invites members of public to participate in this consultation. The consultation exercise will last for three weeks, from 30 March to 20 April 2015.

FEEDBACK CHANNEL

12.              To ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused,  we would like to request that respondents follow these guidelines:

(a)       Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if any), as that would assist in our understanding of the 
            impact of the proposed changes to different stakeholder groups;
(b)      Make your comments clear and concise;
(c)       Focus your comments on how the provisions and features can be improved or be made clearer; and
(d)      As far as possible, explain your points with illustrations and examples.
 
13.              Your feedback is important to us. We strongly encourage you to submit your feedback through this email address: MOM_Wica_Amendments@mom.gov.sg [Subject Heading: Consultation on Amendments to WICA (2015)]. This will enable your feedback to reach us faster and speed up the process of consultation.
 
SUMMARY OF RESPONSES

14.              We regret that we will not be able to individually address or acknowledge every comment we receive.  However, we will consolidate and publish a summary of the key comments received, together with our responses, on the REACH website following the close of the consultation exercise.  The summary will not disclose the identity of person(s) providing the feedback, to maintain confidentiality of the feedback received.