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Work Injury Compensation Insurance (WICA Insurance) protects your employees if they suffer injuries, or contract illnesses while working.
Under Singapore’s Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA), employers are legally liable to pay compensation to workers who become hurt or sick while performing work-related activities. For example, if your worker has a fall during work and fractures their ankle, you must compensate them for their medical expenses, and their salary while on MC leave. If your worker contracts an occupational disease (e.g. lung infection from breathing in particles at work), you must similarly pay for their medical bills. Given the high cost of medical care in Singapore, it is therefore critical to have insurance in place to pay for your workers’ medical bills.
WICA Insurance is also known as “Workman Compensation Insurance”. WICA coverage is one of the most common types of insurance that SMEs will purchase. It’s usually very affordable, while providing generous coverage. We highly recommend this type of insurance for all employers, given that your most valuable assets are often your employees.
What's included under Work Injury Compensation Insurance coverage?
WICA Insurance coverage is very broad, and will pay for the following costs:
a. Medical expenses for employee’s work-related injuries/illnesses, including Covid-19
b. Up to 1 year’s lost wages while employee is on MC due to work-related injuries/illnesses
c. Up to $289,000 lump sum compensation for temporary or permanent disability of employees, due to work
d. Up to $225,000 lump sum compensation for death of employee, due to work
Essentially, WICA Insurance covers businesses for all compensation they must legally pay to employees injured while working, as required by MOM regulations.
What are some examples of work injury claims?
Let’s say you run an interior renovation company. While working on a client’s project, one of your renovation workers falls off a ladder, and fractures his arm. The injured worker has to undergo corrective surgery on his arm. He is hospitalised for 1 week. He is prescribed medication, and is provided regular wound dressing changes. His total medical bills add up to $25,000. The worker is also provided with outpatient medical leave for 2 weeks.
Let’s examine what a Work Injury Compensation Insurance policy would pay for in the above scenario.
Surgery on fractured arm: Because the injury was work-related, Work Injury Compensation Insurance would cover the surgery costs to treat your employee’s injured arm.
Hospitalisation fees: Work Injury Compensation Insurance would cover the hospitalisation costs. The insurance policy would cover the $25,000 in total medical bills from this work-related incident.
Lost wages while on MC: Since the employee was on MC for 3 weeks in total (1 week in the hospital, 2 weeks at home), Work Injury Compensation Insurance would also cover the employee’s salary while on medical leave. If his monthly salary was $3,000/month, your Work Injury policy would pay for $2,250 in lost employee wages.
If you didn’t have Work Injury Compensation Insurance in the above scenario, you would be legally obligated to pay $27,250 out of your own pocket! That’s a very large sum to bear for most companies. Because injury compensation laws in Singapore are strict, it’s highly recommended that you cover your employees with this policy. It could save you a large sum of money if your employees get injured or sick while working!
What types of Covid-19 costs does WICA Insurance cover in Singapore?
It is a legal requirement for employers to compensate their employees if they contract Covid-19 due to work-related causes. This is an especially important point to note for businesses whose employees are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19. For instance, construction firms, cleaning firms, F&B firms, and healthcare firms should be particularly aware of this responsibility they must shoulder, as required by WICA laws.
For Covid-19 infections arising out of employment, WICA insurance policies may cover the following costs:
a. Medical expenses related to the infection, such as hospital treatment
b. Lost wages while on medical leave (includes salary, bonus, overtime pay, food and housing allowances, but excludes CPF payment)
c. Lump sum compensation for death, or temporary/permanent disability
Do I need Work Injury Compensation Insurance? Is it legally mandatory?
In Singapore, it is a legal requirement to provide Work Injury Compensation insurance for:
a. All workers who perform manual labour, regardless of salary level
b. All workers who earn $2,600/month or less, regardless of job scope
You should not stop at purchasing WICA Insurance only for the workers that you are legally required to insure. Because businesses are liable to compensate their employees for all work-related injuries/sickness, it’s a much better idea to insure 100% of your workforce. If you only insure some workers but leave others uninsured, you could be staring at a large medical bill if your uninsured workers suffer workplace accidents, or contract some kind of disease from their job.
If your business or your employees are involved in the following, then this type of insurance is particularly critical for you:
Labour-intensive industries: construction firms, renovation & interior designers, manufacturing firms, warehouse/storage firms, food & beverage establishments, retail stores, etc.
Frequent exposure to outdoor environments: on-site engineers, technicians, goods delivery, road works, building painters, vehicle towing, car-washing, etc.
High-hazard industries: scaffolding work, working at shipyards, working with aeroplanes, working at Oil & Gas or Petrochemical sites, working underground in tunnels, etc.
Offshore work: Fishing, work done on offshore rigs, any kind of work done onboard ships
How much Work Injury Compensation Insurance coverage do I need?
Most WICA insurance policies come with a standard amount of coverage:
a. $10 million annual common law limit
b. $45,000 sub-limit for medical expenses
c. $289,000 lump sum compensation for death, or temporary/permanent disability
d. Coverage for 30 days of lost wages while on MC due to work-related injury/sickness
You will notice that the above requirements are the legal minimums that employers must provide their employees. Employers are not legally obligated to provide higher coverage. However, some WICA Insurance policies will provide higher coverage – subject to a higher premium, of course.
It’s highly advisable for SMEs to insure all their workers with WICA insurance. Even a single WICA claim can put an employer out of pocket for tens of thousands of dollars.
How much does Work Injury Compensation Insurance cost in Singapore?
Non-Manual Worker: Starts from $5/month, per worker
Manual Worker: Starts from $15/month, per worker
As you can see, this type of coverage is very affordable for the benefits you’re getting! Prices may be higher for specific higher-risk industries, like manufacturing.
With Provide, you save up to 25% on your premiums. Our digital operating model creates lower overheads, and we pass every dollar saved back to our clients.