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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on WICA

NOTICE PAPER NO. 1891 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 5 NOVEMBER 2019

QUESTION NO. 3298 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

MP: Ms Anthea Ong

To ask the Minister for Manpower -
(a) What is the training and communication plan to employers for the new safety requirements under WICA;
(b) How does the Ministry ensure that workers know who to approach when they encounter work injuries;
(c) What is the number of times that errant doctors have been reported over migrant work injuries in the last three years;
(d) What is the number of civil claims for such work injuries that have been won in the last three years; and
(e) How does the Ministry ensure that the Singapore Medical Council and Law Society of Singapore support efforts to protect migrant workers in work injury cases.

Answer

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has been actively engaging employers to inform them about the new requirements under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA). We have advertised the new requirements on mainstream newspapers and social media platforms, and provided resources on MOM website to guide employers.
  2. Together with the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U SME and Singapore Institution of Safety Officers (SISO), we have briefed close to 2,000 employers, HR practitioners and safety officers in the past two months following the passing of the WICA amendments. We have also worked with them to disseminate information regarding the new requirements to their broader membership base. We will be briefing more employers in the coming months.
  3. Through the mandatory Settling-in Programme (SIP) for foreign workers, we have been educating workers that they should approach their immediate supervisors if they sustain work injuries. We have published guides in the workers’ native languages, and have been working with partners such as the unions to raise awareness.
  4. On the question of errant doctors, we received seven complaints in the last three years, of which four were referred to the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). They are pending SMC’s investigation.
  5. We do not track the outcome of civil claims, although the Commissioner of Labour awarded compensation to about 45,000 WICA claims in the last three years.
  6. We will continue to refer cases of suspected professional misconduct by doctors and lawyers to SMC and Law Society of Singapore, respectively, for investigation and disciplinary action. We support their investigations by performing our own enquiry into workers’ complaints, and sharing our findings and assessments with the professional bodies. For instance, in cases of insufficient medical leave, we would advise the worker to get treatment at another clinic if they have not already done so. We would then share the first and second doctor’s prescription of medical leave with SMC, and provide them the assessment of whether the first doctor’s prescription seemed insufficient for the injury.