What is the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)
Learn the key facts about Work Injury Compensation Act, including eligibility and the differences between WICA and common law.
Who is covered
What you can claim
How to claim
What is the Work Injury Compensation Act
The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) lets employees make claims for work-related injuries or diseases without having to file a civil suit under common law. It is a low-cost and quicker alternative to common law for settling compensation claims.
You can claim under WICA if you were injured in a work accident or suffered a disease due to work. You don’t have to engage a lawyer to file a WICA claim.
The changes to the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) will take effect in 2020. WICA 2019 requires insurers to process all insured claims. This enables a faster and simpler claims process that benefits everyone.
Key changes to WICA
- Changes in compensation and medical expenses limits.
- Expand mandatory insurance coverage to non-manual employees, regardless of where they work.
- Expand scope of compensation to include light duties.
- Compulsory reporting for any instance of medical leave or light duties issued for work accident.
Changes in compensation and medical expenses limits
From 1 January 2020, the following will be increased. These will apply to work accidents that happen from 1 January 2020.
- You had an accident on 28 December 2019, but you made your medical expense claim on 1 January 2020.
- Your maximum compensation limits will be up to $36,000, as the accident happened before 1 January 2020.
Compensation for death
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Compensation for total permanent incapacity
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Maximum limit for medical expenses
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Expand mandatory insurance coverage for non-manual employees
From 1 April 2020, the salary threshold for non-manual employees requiring work injury compensation insurance will be increased. The increase will be done in 2 phases.
Employers must still purchase insurance for all manual employees, regardless of salary.
Salary threshold for non-manual employees
Compensation to include light duties
Currently, employees on light duties due to work injuries are not compensated under WICA.
However, from 01 September 2020, employees on light duties due to work injuries will be compensated for their lost earnings based on their Average Monthly Earnings (AME).
Employees on outpatient or hospitalisation sick leave will continue to be compensated for their lost earnings.
Compulsory reporting for all medical leave or light duties
From 01 September 2020, employers must report all work-related medical leave or light duties to MOM.
Who is covered in accordance with WICA
The Work Injury Compensation Act covers most employees against accidents at work, with some exceptions.
Who is covered
The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) covers any local or foreign employee who is under a contract of service or contract of apprenticeship, regardless of salary, age or nationality.
Who is NOT covered (It doesn’t cover):
- Independent contractors and the self-employed.
- Domestic workers.
- Uniformed personnel – members of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Central Narcotics Bureau and Singapore Prison Service.
Who can claim
You can claim for compensation if you have been injured or contracted a disease as a result of work.
You remain eligible to claim for compensation even if:
- You no longer work for the employer or your work pass is cancelled.
- The accident happened while you were on an overseas assignment.
- The accident happened while on a flexi-work arrangement that you agreed with your employer.
Dependents of an employee who died because of a workplace accident can also make a claim on behalf of the employee.
Eligible claims under WICA
The Work Injury Compensation Act lets you claim for injuries and occupational diseases that happen at work or as a result of work.
When you can claim
If you are an eligible employee, you can make a claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) if you have:
- Been injured by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment.
- Been injured while on an overseas assignment.
- Contracted an Occupational Disease.
- Contracted a disease from exposure to biological or chemical agents at work.
What accidents does WICA cover
WICA covers accidents arising out of and in the course of employment.
Unless there is evidence to prove otherwise, an accident in the course of employment is regarded as arising out of employment.
Scenarios covered under WICA
You are covered under WICA if you:
- Meet with traffic accident while taking company transport between home and workplace. The vehicle is not a public transport.
- Meet with traffic accident while travelling during work and for work purpose (e.g. travel from workplace to venue for meeting), regardless of the mode of transport. You did not make any personal detour.
- Are employed by a Singapore employer during your course of employment, suffers a work-related injury during an overseas assignment.
- Are a seaman who suffers a work-related injury while on board a Singapore-registered vessel, regardless of the location of the vessel.
- Injure yourself in a work-related fight where you were a victim and did not participate in the fight, or were injured while exercising private defence, or instructed to break up the fight, safeguard life or property, or maintain law and order.
- Suffer medical conditions such as heart attack or stroke that are due to work.
Scenarios not covered under WICA
You are not covered under WICA if you:
- Meet with traffic accident while travelling in your own car, your friend’s car, or public transport between home and workplace.
- Meet with traffic accident while you made a personal detour while travelling during work (e.g. detour for personal errand while travelling from workplace to venue for meeting), regardless of the mode of transport.
- Injure yourself while under the influence of alcohol or a prescription drug which was not prescribed by a doctor.
- Deliberately injure yourself or aggravate an existing injury.
WICA versus common law
Employees injured at work can either claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) or common law, but not both. There are key differences between the two approaches as well as deadlines for making and withdrawing claims.
Differences between WICA and common law
If you are an eligible employee who has suffered a work-related injury or illness, you can seek compensation through either the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) or common law, but not both.
The main differences between making a WICA claim and filing a civil suit under common law are as follows:
Who do I make the claim with?
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Do I need a lawyer?
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How much compensation will I get?
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Do I need proof to support my claims?
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Can I claim under both WICA and Common Law?
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Deadlines for withdrawing a claim or suit
You have up to 1 year from the accident to decide whether you want to make a claim under WICA or under common law.
Withdrawing a civil suit to file a WICA claim
If you are pursuing a civil suit against your employer and want to withdraw it to file a WICA claim, you need to make your claim within 1 year from the date of the accident or diagnosis of illness.
Withdrawing a WICA claim to file a civil suit
If you want to withdraw your WICA claim, you can do so at any time before MOM issues your notice of assessment (NOA).
Only you, or your legal representative, can notify MOM of the decision to withdraw a claim.
Once the notice of assessment has been issued, you can withdraw your claim:
- Within 14 days from the date of service on the NOA, if there are no disputes.
- Within 28 days from the date of service on the NOA, if there are disputes.
Note: If all parties accept the NOA, your employer (or the insurer, if applicable) is required to make payment within 21 days from the date of service of NOA. The case is then considered resolved, and you will no longer be able to claim under common law.
Types of compensation under WICA
The Work Injury Compensation Act lets employees claim for medical leave wages, medical expenses and lump sum compensation for permanent incapacity, if any, or death. There are limits to each type of compensation.
What you can claim
If you are covered by the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA), you can claim for the following types of compensation benefits:
- Medical leave wages for days you were issued with medical leave due to the work injury or disease.
- Medical expenses, including your hospital bills, medication and other charges, due to the work injury.
- Lump sum compensation for permanent incapacity or death.
Non-permanent work injuries refers to an injured employee being temporarily unable to perform work and earn his usual wages after being placed on medical leave.
Compensation for such work injuries consists of:
- Medical leave wages for working days covered by doctor granted MC or hospitalisation leave, up to one year from the date of the accident.
- Medical expenses related to work accident for medical treatment received within one year from the date of the accident, or up to a maximum of $45,000, whichever is reached first.
Note: Please visit MOM for more details at: https://www.mom.gov.sg/workplace-safety-and-health/work-injury-compensation
I’ve filed a law suit against my employer, but I’m unlikely to succeed. What can I do?
- You can make a claim under the Workplace Injury Compensation Act (WICA) as long as it has been less than 1 year since the accident, even if you’ve already filed a common law suit.
- If it has been more than 1 year, but you initiated the suit within 1 year of the accident, you can request the court to assess your WICA compensation and order your employer to pay.
Please learn more details about WICA at MOM at:
Source of Information for all Work Passes & their related matters is from the Ministry Of Manpower, Singapore.
You may wish to visit Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) online for detailed information and current updates.