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Work Injury Compensation Act in Singapore: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Many countries have laws that compensate employees for injuries or illness sustained while working.  These are statutory rights that don’t usually need to be filed with a court, and are handled by an administrative body.  The purpose of these compensation rights is to place the responsibility for workplace injuries on the employer, regardless of fault.

Singapore has its own compensation statute, with very specific guidelines and some high compensation levels.  This guide will cover the basics, but if you have an employee that was injured at work, expert advice may be needed.

Who does the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) cover in Singapore?

The WICA covers all local or foreign employees regardless of salary level or nationality.  However, it does not cover self-employed contractors.  In the event of death, dependents of an employee can file the WICA claim.

Claims can be made for any injury or contracted illness as a result of work including the following situations:

  • The employee no longer works for the employer
  • The accident happened while on overseas assignments
  • The employee was on a flexi-work arrangement, such as work from home (home offices are equally subject to health and safety laws as well)

Claims can be made up to one year from the date of the accident, and do not require a lawyer to file.

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What compensation can employees claim under WICA in Singapore?

All claims under WICA are paid by the employer, and many employers will carry insurance to cover these claims.  That is a wise thing to do, as you could end up paying up to a year’s salary to an injured or ill employee.  Here are the types of compensation available:

Medical leave wages

The employee will receive wages for days of missed work due to the injury or illness, up to one year.  Initially full wages are paid, and then are reduced to 2/3.

Medical expenses

Hospital bills, medication and other charges are paid, up to a maximum of one year’s charges or $45,000, whichever is reached first.

Lump sum compensation

Compensation is also paid for permanent incapacity, current incapacity or death.   There is a formula used to calculate the lump sum, and the minimum is $97,000 and the maximum is $289,000 for incapacity.  Compensation is slightly less for death (paid to dependents of the employee).

Client Case: Can an employee claim under the WICA if they are unable to work due to an injury during working hours?

Context: A client of ours with employees in Singapore reached out to ask what types of accidents are covered under WICA.

Solution: We informed the client that eligible employees can file a claim under WICA when they have:

  • Been injured by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment.
  • Been injured while on an overseas assignment.
  • Contracted an Occupational Disease.
  • Contracted a disease from exposure to biological or chemical agents at work.

Do you need more information about Singapore?

If you are new to hiring in Singapore, you may have other questions such as:

Can an employee also file a lawsuit for damages in addition to the WICA claim?

How can an employer ensure employee safety when they work off-site?

Are medical leave wages still processed through payroll for tax and contribution purposes?

These types of questions are raised by our clients frequently, and we guide them in complying with all labor and entitlement regulations.  We make international employment simple.

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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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