29 August 2019
On 5 August 2019, the Work Injury Compensation Bill (“Bill”) was introduced for first reading in Parliament. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that employees receive compensation for work injuries in a fair and expeditious manner by providing for:
- efficient operation of work injury compensation processes and related insurance arrangements; and
- timely and effective resolution of disputes concerning such compensation.
The Bill repeals and re-enacts with amendments the Work Injury Compensation Act (“WICA”) for the following main purposes:
- Provide a more expeditious process for employees to receive compensation for injuries suffered arising out of and in the course of their employment, by providing for:
- a deemed claim for compensation by an employee once an employer has notice of an accident giving rise to the employee’s work injury, without requiring an actual claim to be made;
- processing of the compensation to be done by the employer’s insurer in most cases, except in cases where there is no designated insurer, no approved policy or the Commissioner for Labour decides to process the compensation; and
- enhancing the powers of the Commissioner for Labour to facilitate the processing of work injury compensation and to resolve disputes relating to the work injury compensation;
- Ensure that work injury compensation insurance meets the minimum standards set by compulsory terms prescribed under the WICA and that designated insurers comply with requirements as to the processing of compensation and underwriting of liability;
- Ensure that employers maintain full insurance coverage for their liabilities under the Bill.
In a press release, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) explained that the key proposed changes to the WICA aim to balance the interest of both employees and employers. Employees will benefit through the expansion of WICA coverage. Employers will benefit from greater assurance of buying policies that meet WICA requirements, and from enhanced recourse to fraudulent claims. Faster and simpler work injury claims processes will also be established to benefit both employees and employers.