WICA has been put in place in 2008 by Singapore government to handle smoothly all claims due work related injury or disease in work environment. It reduces the need to file claim under common law. A work injury compensation policy is quite similar to an employer’s liability insurance that can be found in other countries, with some particularities. The below article will help to understand how does WICA in Singapore works:
Who can be covered under WICA?
All employees, local or foreigners, who have signed a working contract with a company, can be covered under WICA. And there is no exclusion based on salary, age or nationality, but few category of workers are excluded by WICA like independent contractors or self-employed, domestic workers and uniformed personnels. Note that work injury compensation is compulsory for manual workers and any workers whose monthly salary is below SGD 1,600 per month.
What does WICA cover?
Medical leave wages: WICA will allow 60 days salary following an hospitalisation due to work related injury/disease and 14 days for outpatient medical leave
Medical expenses: it will cover medical expenses following work related accident/disease in the limit if SGD 36,000 and within maximum one year following the accident
Lump sum compensation: WICA will cover a lump sum in case of death or disability following the below calculation:
Average monthly salary x Average multiplying factors x Percentage of permanent incapacity
Age multiplying factors is reducing over time, so the younger you are, the more indemnity you will get. However, it is important to keep in mind that annual indemnity level is limited since January 1st, 2016 to a maximum of SGD 262,000 indemnity limit
What is an eligible compensation under WICA?
You are eligible for compensation when you have been injured or contracted a disease due to work environment. It is covering as well oversea work assignment and accident that may happen during a flexi-work arrangement agreed with employer. Accident during transportation for a work assignment is covered, but the transportation to and from office is only covered if it is a transportation organized by the company. If you are using your own car to go to office and meet with an accident on the way, you won’t be able to claim under WICA
WICA versus common law
Any employee who is injured or sick due to work can claim either from Work Injury Compensation Act or common law, but can’t claim both. WICA is managed by MOM and process is simple and fast. Under common law, you will have to report your case to States court or High court and you will need to be represented by a lawyer and pay legal fees. Under common law, the indemnity limit is not set but you will have to prove your case and justify the compensation requested, contrary to WICA where all indemnity payable are following a formula (see above the calculation).
Difference with Employer’s liability insurance
A standard employer’s liability insurance policy will cover the company for legal fees in the event of a claim going through common law. As WICA does not require company to involve any legal fees, this part is therefore not covered under the policy. It is therefore important that companies in Singapore consider as well an Employment Practice Liability insurance policy that will cover legal fees if they are sued by employees under common law. Such policy can be bought as an extension of Directors and Officers liability insurance.
Work injury compensation policy is an important aspect of protection for companies in Singapore and we recommend companies to cover all their staff under this policy and not just the manual workers. Understanding how WICA works is important to manage properly your risks in Singapore.
For more information, visit MOM website https://www.mom.gov.sg/workplace-safety-and-health/work-injury-compensation/what-is-wica or contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.