What Is WICA & Why Should You Care?
October 4, 2018
Ooi Ee Win
Assistant Manager, Property and Casualty Department
The Work Injury Compensation Act (also known as WICA) is a piece of legislation by the Ministry of Manpower that protects employees against injuries incurred or illnesses contracted during the course of work or work-related activities on a “no-fault” system. It is common belief that only manual workers are covered under the act. In actual fact however, WICA covers ALL employees and thus employers are liable to compensate ALL employees in the unfortunate case of any work-related injuries or illnesses.
Is Your Business WICA Proof?
As business owners, the responsibilities under your care are countless. From stressing about how to drive topline sales, to keeping product lines and supply chains in tip top condition, the last thing you want is to have to worry about is work injury compensation.
In 2017 alone, there were 12,000 workplace injuries, 42 deaths and 574 major injuries reported locally. Top causes of fatality include falling from height, getting struck by moving objects, work related traffic and getting caught in between objects. While the highest incidences of workplace injuries do happen in the Manufacturing, Construction and Marine industries, other industries are sadly far from exempt.
Do We Really Understand What The Act Covers And Who Should Be Covered?
It is common belief that only manual workers earning up to $1,600 per month are covered under the Act. However, this is not true, WICA states that all employees are covered regardless of scope of work and income level.
While employers are legally liable to pay compensation for all employee’s injuries incurred in the course of work regardless of who was at fault, many employers however, still buy Work Injury Compensation insurance only for their manual staff in the hope of managing costs.
The pitfall for this is that when an employee who is not covered under an insurance policy sustains an injury during the course of their work, they have a legal right to claim against their employers. As WICA operates on a no fault regime, this potential out-of-pocket payment by the employer can have a huge effect. According to WICA, the compensation under the act can go up to S$36,000 for medical expenses and S$262,000 for permanent disability plus the employee’s medical leave wages up to a year.
Furthermore, if an employee elects to sue his/her employer for negligence under the common law, the claim would not be subjected to the limitations under WICA and may easily hit a million dollars or more. This is becoming a more common trend nowadays which is becoming a major concern for many employers. Even if an employer can successfully prove that they are not negligent in their duty as an employer, the defence cost alone to deal with such claims can cost a bomb.
Work Injury Compensation Insurance Protects Your Business
While ensuring the latest safety procedures are in place is of utmost importance, sometimes things still fall through the cracks. When that happens, you want to make sure you are sufficiently covered. Not only does work injury compensation insurance reduce the financial impact of accidents, it gives you peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for the unexpected. Most importantly, it provides your employees with the assurance that they are covered and that you have their wellbeing at heart.