If an employee gets hurt on the job, the employer is responsible and required by law to pay for worker’s compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation also covers some, but not all, stress-related (psychological) work injury, including medical leave wages, medical expenses, and lump sum compensation for permanent incapacity or death. On the contrary, if an employee is hurt at work, but were off the clock or travelling to or from work at the time of injury, there are specific situations where a claim for workers compensation benefits will be approved.
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According to the Ministry of Manpower, work-related injuries must arise out of and occur in the course of employment. Injuries sustained while travelling to and from a workplace are not covered, except in some situations as described below:
- Employees meet with traffic accidents while taking company transport between home and workplace. The vehicle is not public transport.
- Employees meet with traffic accidents while travelling during work and for work purposes, such as travel from the workplace to a venue for a meeting, regardless of the mode of transport. Employees did not make any personal detours during this trip.
- Employees are employed by a Singapore employer during the course of employment, suffer a work-related injury during an overseas assignment.
- Employees are seamen who suffer a work-related injury while on board a Singapore-registered vessel, regardless of the location of the vessel.
- Employees injure themselves in a work-related fight where they are a victim and do not participate in the fight, or are injured while exercising private defence, or are instructed to break up the fight, safeguard life or property, or maintain law and order.
- Employees suffer medical conditions such as heart attack or stroke that are due to work.
Changes to work injury compensation
As of 2020, Singapore Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) has enacted some changes to its compensation rules and benefits. There are four key changes made, including as follows:
- Changes in compensation and medical expenses limits which is effective from 1 January 2020. Compensation for death is now a minimum of $76,000 and a maximum of $225,000. Compensation for total permanent incapacity is $97,000 (minimum) and $289,000 (maximum). The maximum limit for medical expenses is $45,000 or up to 1 year from the date of the accident, whichever comes first.
- Expand mandatory insurance coverage to non-manual employees, regardless of where they work which is effective from 1 April 2020. The increase will be done in 2 phases and employers must still purchase insurance for all manual employees, regardless of salary.
- Expand scope of compensation to include light duties. This scope is effective from 1 September 2020 where employees on light duties due to work injuries will be compensated for their lost earnings based on their Average Monthly Earnings. Employees on outpatient or hospitalisation sick leave will continue to be compensated for their lost earnings.
- Compulsory reporting for any instance of medical leave or light duties issued for work accidents which is effective from 1 September 2020. Employers must report all work-related medical leave or light duties to MOM.
Read also: Return to Work Procedure after an Accident or Injury
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