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Two employers fined for not maintaining work injury compensation insurance and not paying work injury compensation

  1. In the State Courts, two employers, Valiancy Enterprise LLP (‘Valiancy’) and Mr Suriakumar Ridgeway S/O Ramaiah (‘Suriakumar’), the sole proprietor of Ridgeway Marine & Construction, were fined in November 2017 for failing to insure and maintain work injury compensation insurance for their employees, and for failing to pay work injury compensation after the orders for compensation were made under the Work Injury Compensation Act (‘WICA’).

    Background

    (I) Valiancy Enterprise LLP ('Valiancy')
  2. On 17 Nov 2015, Mr Phua Soon Beng, a carpenter employed by Valiancy, had the tip of his left thumb amputated by a wood cutting machine as he was clearing debris near the machine.
  3. On 11 Oct 2016, an Order was issued against Valiancy to pay Mr Phua $25,000 as work injury compensation, which Valiancy eventually failed to pay. MOM investigations also revealed that Valiancy did not insure and maintain work injury compensation insurance for five employees including Mr Phua at the time of the accident.
  4. On 7 Nov 2017, Valiancy pleaded guilty to one count of non-payment of compensation, and five counts of non-insurance. In total, the company was fined $20,000. Valiancy has been barred from applying and renewing work permits for a period of 6 months. Valiancy has since paid Mr Phua $25,000 for the work injury compensation.

    (II) Mr Suriakumar Ridgeway S/O Ramaiah (‘Suriakumar’), the sole proprietor of Ridgeway Marine & Construction
  5. On 30 May 2015, Mr Sujan Ahmed Late Ali Ahmed, a marine trades worker employed by Mr Suriakumar, injured his right elbow and back after falling from a ladder at work.
  6. On 28 Sep 2016, an Order was issued against Ridgeway to pay Mr Sujan $11,625 as work injury compensation. Mr Suriakumar failed to pay the full compensation within the stipulated timeframe of the Order and only $2,480.03 was paid to Mr Sujan. MOM investigations revealed that Mr Suriakumar did not insure and maintain work injury compensation insurance for eleven employees including Sujan at the time of the accident.
  7. On 16 Nov 2017, Mr Suriakumar pleaded guilty to one count of non-payment of compensation and five counts of non-insurance. On 28 Nov 2017, Suriakumar was
    sentenced to pay a total fine of $21,000. The Court also ordered Mr Suriakumar to pay Mr Sujan his outstanding work injury compensation of $9,144.97. Mr Suriakumar was sentenced to 120 days in jail for defaulting the court fine and the compensation to the worker. He has also been barred from applying and renewing work permits for a period of 6 months.
  8. Mr Sujan will receive an ex-gratia payment from the Workers’ Fund for his work injury compensation claim. He has also been previously assisted by the Migrant Workers’ Centre.

    Conclusion
  9. Ms Kee Ee Wah, Director of the Work Injury Compensation Department of MOM said, “Employers are required by law to purchase work injury compensation (WIC) insurance for workers and to pay out compensation to workers who are injured at work. Of the approximately 18,000 injuries reported annually, over 99.9% of valid WIC claims are settled in full. Cases of non-compensation are rare. MOM will take enforcement action against employers who do not insure and maintain WIC insurance for their workers.”
  10. Under the WICA, employers convicted for the non-payment of work injury compensation within the stipulated timeline may be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both. Employers convicted for the failure to insure and maintain insurance under the WICA similarly may be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.