WICA Act 2019 Update: Key Changes, and How it Affects You
In Singapore, the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) is a statute that allows employees to make claims for work-related injuries or diseases, without having to file a civil suit under common law.
It provides a quicker and more affordable alternative to common law for settling compensation claims.
Who Is Covered?
With some exceptions, all employees of an organisation are covered by WICA, in which an employer is liable for the compensation of their employees, regardless of fault.
This Act is particularly important to the Construction industry, where both manual and non-manual employees are in a higher-risk environment than most.
Work Injury Compensation(WIC) Insurance
Prior to the WICA updates, it was and still is mandatory by law for all employees to purchase Work Injury Compensation (WIC) Insurance for their manual workers regardless of their salary level, and non-manual workers earning less than SGD $1,600 or less a month.
WIC Insurance was optional for non-manual workers earning more than S$1,600 per month.
Key Changes to WICA Act 2019
The 4 key changes to the WICA Act are:
- Changes in compensation and medical expenses limits
- Expansion of mandatory insurance coverage of non-manual employees
- Compensation to include light duties
- Compulsory reporting for all (work-related) medical leaves or light duties
In particular, with effect from 01 January 2020(for injuries and diseases occurring on or after this date), the compensation limits have been increased:
|Benefits||Previous Limits||New Limits|
|Death||S$69,000 to S$204,000||S$76,000 to S$225,000|
|Total Permanent Incapacity||S$88,000 to S$262,000||S$97,000 to S$289,000|
|Medical Expenses||Up to S$36,000 or 1 year from date of accident, whichever is reached first||Up to S$45,000 or 1 year from date of accident, whichever is reached first|
Note: Employers must purchase insurance for all manual employees, regardless of salary.
From 01 April 2020, the salary threshold for non-manual employees requiring work injury compensation insurance will be increased. The increase will be done in 2 phases:
|Before 01 Apr 2020||From 01 Apr 2020||From 01 Apr 2021|
|Salary threshold for non-manual employees||$1,600||$2,100||$2,600|
Why is WIC Insurance Important
Even though there are usually multiple contractors with separate insurances to cover an injured employee, it is the direct Employer’s insurer who is required to first respond in a claim, to minimise delays in receiving compensation.
The WIC Insurance coverage is not only mandatory, but it will take care of all benefits required under WICA, which includes medical expenses, medical leave wages, and lump-sum payments in the event of permanent disability or death.
Hence, for your peace of mind, you should always ensure the insurance policies for all your employees accurately reflect their current occupations and salaries.
It is important to note that you must have insurance for both local and foreign employees. Failure to provide adequate insurance is an offense carrying a fine of up to $10,000 or jail of up to 12 months, or both. For more details on the changes, eligibility, types of compensation and claims procedure, please refer to the Ministry of Manpower website here.
At AWG Insurance, we will be delighted to assist in your enquiries about the changes in premiums and coverage. Do call us at AWG (6294 6688) for advice and assistance.
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