28 August 2020

On 7 August 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) announced it will defer implementation of the regulatory regime for insurers under the Work Injury Compensation Act 2019 (“WICA 2019”) till 1 January 2021.

The Work Injury Compensation Bill was passed on 3 September 2019 and the WICA 2019 was gazetted on 15 November 2019. It is not yet in force. When the WICA 2019 comes into force, it will repeal and replace the current Work Injury Compensation Act (“WICA”).

Under the regulatory regime for insurers in the WICA 2019, only insurers designated by MOM, known as designated insurers, can issue work injury compensation (“WIC”) insurance policies. WIC insurance policies issued by designated insurers must be approved policies, which comply with the compulsory terms set out by MOM. Designated insurers are required to share claims information with MOM, and this will be shared with other designated insurers. All claims arising from these policies will be processed by the designated insurers. This new regulatory regime was intended to take effect from 1 September 2020.

As preparations by insurers have been affected by Covid-19 circuit breaker measures and remote working arrangements, MOM has deferred the implementation of the regulatory regime for insurers till 1 January 2021 to ensure a smooth transition. Details on the deferral can be found on the MOM website. The deferral does not affect employers’ existing obligations and employees’ protections under the current WICA.

All other legislative amendments in the WICA 2019 will continue to take effect from 1 September 2020 as announced earlier. These include:

  • Employer to report any instance of leave arising from work injury (including light duties)
  • Claim is deemed as made once the employer has notice of the accident
  • Compensation can be based on a multiple of basic monthly salary
  • Compensation can be based on current incapacity assessment
  • Employer is liable to compensate for shortfall in earnings when employee is on light duties
  • MOM may allow for doctor-switching for current/permanent incapacity assessment
  • Greater recourse for employers to recover compensation paid on basis of error or fraud
  • Increased penalties for offences

Advisory to employers

Existing WIC insurance policies that comply with current WICA requirements and which commenced before 1 January 2021 will remain valid until expiry or 31 December 2021, whichever is earlier.

For policies which commenced on or after 1 January 2021, employers should ensure their insurer has been designated by MOM, when renewing or buying WIC insurance policies. The list of designated insurers will be posted on MOM’s website, after insurer designation begins on 1 September 2020.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the MOM website http://www.mom.gov.sg/: