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Work Injury Compensation: Place of work does not matter

  • The Straits Times (8 June) : "Work-from-home injury compensation not practicable"

Employees to be compensated for work injuries, no matter where they occur - The Straits Times, 13 Jun 2020

  1. We thank Mr. Bernard Chua for his feedback on work-from-home injury compensation (“Work-from-home injury compensation not practicable, 8 June). 

  2. The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) compensates employees with work injury, regardless of where they work, whether the location was a registered workplace, and whether a risk assessment was done. It would be unfair to employees if they are unable to be compensated for work injuries outside their normal workplace, whether they were working from home, at a client’s premises, or on off-site work training.
  3. The basis for determining claim validity is consistent across all work injury claims. There must be evidence that the injury arose out of and in the course of work. If the injury arose from activities such as cooking or cleaning, it would not be considered as work injuries even if the employee was working from home that day.  

    Christopher Koh 
    Occupational Safety & Health Unit 
    Ministry of Manpower 

Work-from-home injury compensation not practicable - The Straits Times, 8 Jun 2020

It has been reported that injuries sustained by employees while working from home can be compensated by employers.

However, I believe it is not practicable (Work injury at home: Employer still responsible for compensation, June 5).

One reason is that the home is not a registered workplace or factory.

Second, in the workplace, risk assessment has to be conducted, but this will not apply to a home, since it is not a registered workplace.

Even if the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) were to declare that a home is a workplace, for reasons of privacy, who can conduct a risk assessment in the home for the employee?

Even if risk assessment can be conducted, and unsafe conditions are flagged, what provisions are there to ensure that the unsafe conditions are rectified, for example, a slippery bathroom floor, or poor housekeeping?

There will be many grey areas should an incident occur at home that will be subject to questionable evidence - a simple trip and fall over electrical cables, or toys lying on the floor, to name some possible incidents.

What is to prevent employees from abusing the claims?

If an investigation has to be carried out to ascertain an accident, who will be authorised to enter the home?

These are just some reasons to reject the call for compensation to be claimable for working from home.

I hope MOM will review the policy.


Bernard Chua (Mr)