Oral Answer by Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education, to Parliamentary Question on Work Injury Compensation Claims
Notice Paper No. 30 Of 2013 for the sitting on 5 Feb 2013 Question No. 986 For Oral Answer
MP: Mr Alex Yam Ziming
To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower (a) how many claims of work injury
compensation have been filed with the Ministry since the changes to the Work
Injury Compensation Act took effect on 1 June 2012; (b) how many claims have
been awarded in favour of workers; (c) what are the main causes of work injury;
and (d) what action will the Ministry take against employers who do not pay
compensation to their workers after the award of claims.
- The Work Injury Compensation Act (or WICA) is a no fault liability
system that provides a low-cost and expeditious alternative to common law to
settle work-related injury claims. Last year, my Ministry made amendments to
the Act to ensure that it continues to strike a fair balance between compensation
for employees and the obligations placed on employers. We increased the
compensation limit, clarified the requirements for insurers and also made
revisions to ensure that the WICA framework remains expeditious.
- Since the amended Act took effect in June 2012, we have received
approximately 7,300 claims, out of which about 5,400 cases have been resolved.
The remaining cases are in various stages of processing. About 80% of the
cases are straight forward cases and typically between 1 and 6 months to
resolve. More complex cases may involve disputes between parties or injuries that require more time to stabilize. These cases take longer to resolve as we
need to work with the various stakeholders such as the worker, employer, the
insurer and the treating hospital to ensure a fair outcome.
- Of the 5,400 claims resolved, about 94% (or about 5,100 cases) were
awarded in favour of the injured employees. The remaining 6% (or about 300
cases or claims) were either found to be non-work related, or were withdrawn.
The majority of claims awarded in favour of employees were for injuries that
resulted from being struck by objects or from slips, trips and falls.
- Under WICA, employers are required to pay the compensation
determined by the Commissioner for Labour to the claimant within 21 days
from the service of the Notice of Assessment or after the Order is made. The
vast majority of employers are compliant with the law and none of the cases
reported since the amendment of the Act has failed to compensate their
employees. MOM takes a strong stance against errant employers who fail to
compensate their employees and regularly conducts audits to ensure that
employers comply with the Work Injury Compensation Insurance requirements.
Errant employers will be prosecuted and may also be barred from hiring foreign
workers. If convicted, employers face a maximum fine of $10,000 and/ or
imprisonment of up to 12 months. Over the last 5 years, MOM has convicted 6
employers for failure to pay the compensation.
- MOM will also not hesitate to take action against workers who exploit the
system by making fraudulent claims. Such claims are not only deceitful, but
also take up precious investigation resources and delay the resolution of genuine
cases. If found guilty, they face a maximum fine of $15,000 and/ or a jail term
of up to 12 months.
- As we continue to safeguard the interest of injured workers and ensure
that WICA remains an expeditious process, I would like to remind all
stakeholders not to view compensation as a justified end to accidents. No
amount of money can alleviate the pain and suffering inflicted on injured
workers and their families. Our primary goal should, and must always be to
prevent accidents and make workplaces safer and healthier for all.