MOM’s response to TWC2’s article – "Eager to go home after 15 jobless months"
A misleading TWC2 article alleged that that a foreign worker, Hossain Muhammad Arif’s work injury claims took too long, that his employer failed to pay for his upkeep and injured workers were not allowed to work or leave Singapore during the claims process. These are our clarifications.
Claim 1: Many work injury claims take over 12 months to be resolved, Hossain’s took over 15 months
Fact: Hossain first suffered an injury on 20 September 2016. Although he sought treatment and was provided three days MC, he did not inform anyone of the injury until two weeks later. It was a further six months before he decided to report his injury to MOM. Despite this, we completed our investigations and issued the Notice of Assessment for 10% permanent incapacity and for $15,298.47 compensation within eight months on 15 November 2017. However, Hossain withdrew his claim on 5 December 2017 to pursue his claim under common law.
In 2017, most cases took about four months to be resolved. In fact, over 95% were resolved within 12 months. This is far from the bleak picture the article had painted. In our experience, workers who bring their cases to MOM early will improve their chances of successfully resolving their claims. Hossain did not do so and hence delayed the process of resolving his own work injury claim.
Claim 2: Hossain’s employer did not intend to take care of him
Fact: TWC2’s claim is self-contradictory. It claimed that it is common for workers to quit their company’s accommodation for fear that their work injury claim would anger their employers, resulting in assault and repatriation. Yet it admitted that Hossain did not face any problems with his employer. In fact, Hossain’s employer was prepared to keep his work permit “live” and take him back, should Hossain recover fully. The employer had also paid for Hossain’s air ticket to and from Bangladesh when he requested to go home for medical treatment, and subsequently came back to Singapore to continue working for his employer. This was a case where the employer was more than reasonable. Yet Hossain decided to run away from his employer on 2 Jan 2017, four months before his work permit would have expired.
Claim 3: The work injury claims process does not allow injured workers to work or leave Singapore
Fact: TWC2 is aware of the system to support injured workers:
For their own health and well-being, they should not work and worsen their injuries. Instead,
they should rest and let their injuries heal so that they can recover fully.
- During the entire work injury claims process, employers are required by law to provide adequate upkeep and pay medical leave wages and bills of injured workers, regardless of whether they are on valid work permits or Special Pass. Employers who fail to do so will be taken to task.
- Work permit holders with work injury claims being processed can return to work if they are no longer on medical leave and are medically certified fit to work. Special Passes holders can apply for jobs under the Temporary Job Scheme if they are medically certified fit to work.
- Injured workers can leave Singapore any time they wish during the claims process. If they are represented by lawyers, MOM will follow up with the lawyers directly.
We continue to remind TWC2 to be responsible in their advocacy and not to give slanted or unverified accounts of cases. This is not helpful to the foreign workers they wish to assist.
Foreign workers with work injury issues can contact MOM for help at +65 6438 5122 or www.mom.gov.sg/contact-us, the Migrant Workers’ Centre at +65 6536 2692, or their respective embassies/high commissions.
Members of the public who have information on foreign workers who need help, or on errant employers, should also report them to MOM at +65 6438 5122 or www.mom.gov.sg/contact-us. All information will be kept strictly confidential.