ASIA: WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY (PART 4 OF 4)
With the pandemic changing the way we work and given a steady increase in regulations in the safety space across Asia, businesses are responding by putting health and safety matters higher up on the corporate agenda. In a series of four updates, we will look at workplace health and safety obligations across the region. This updates compares the work injury compensation regime. See our previous updates on the general statutory workplace health and safety framework here, the notification and reporting obligations here and potential liabilities for non-compliance with statutory health and safety duties (including directors' liabilities) here.
Is there a work injury compensation regime?
The Workplace Injury Compensation Act 2019 (WICA) requires employers to provide compensation to employees who were injured by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment, contracted an occupational disease or contracted a disease from exposure to biological or chemical agents and the exposure arises out of and in the course of the employee's employment.
The WICA extends to an accident that happens to an employee outside Singapore if the employee is ordinarily resident in, and is employed by an employer in, Singapore, but is required to work outside
The Employees Compensation Ordinance (ECO) requires employers to provide compensation to employees who were injured or killed in an accident arising out of, and in the course of, employment or who suffer from a prescribed occupational disease.
In July 2021, the Employees' Compensation (Amendment) Bill 2021 came into effect. The amendments to the ECO extend coverage to compensation for employees who sustain an injury or die on their work commute, when travelling during extreme weather conditions.
Employers must take out insurance to cover their liability
Under the Thai Compensation Act B.E. 2537 (1994) (CA): where an employee suffers
from accidents or sickness as a result of work, the employer must immediately make medical treatment available for the employee as appropriate and must pay the actual necessary medical expenses incurred in accordance with the relevant Ministerial Regulation; where an employee needs to receive work rehabilitation after suffering from accidents or sickness as a result of work, the employer must pay for the work rehabilitation expenses as needed in accordance with
The Manpower Regulation No. 5 of 2021 on Procedures for the Implementation of WorkAccident Insurance, Life Insurance and Old-Age Benefit Programs (Regulation 5/2021) requires all employers to register their employees to the Work-Accident Insurance programme administered by the Manpower Social Security Administrator (Manpower BPJS).
The Work-Accident Insurance Programme covers all employees (including foreigners) provided that the employee has: at least worked for six
months; and paid their contributions to
Work-Accident Insurance Programme.
Singapore (eg while on
under the ECO for workplace
the relevant Ministerial
Regulation 5/2021 covers all
where an employee suffers accidents during work
Employers must take out
Claims must be brought within
from accidents or sickness (including injuries sustained
insurance to cover their liability 2 years from the date of the
as a result of work causing during commute from or to the
under the WICA in respect of accident.
death or disappearance, place of work or when
employees who perform
the employer must pay for attending official duty during
manual work (regardless of
the funeral expenses in
leave) as well as occupational
salary level) and non-manual
accordance with the
diseases due to their
work (and are earning up to
$2,600 monthly). The relevant
insurance policies must be
where an employee suffers To receive the benefits under
issued by a designated insurer
from accidents or sickness the Work-Accident Insurance
and must comply with the
as a result of work or has Programme, report to the
Ministry of Manpower's
disappeared during work provincial manpower office or
(including where the
the designated manpower
employee is unable to
office official must be made
Claims can be made up to 1
work for certain period of within 2 days after the accident
year from the accident.
time), the employer may occurs. For occupational
also have to pay monthly diseases, the report must be
made by either the employee
prescribed by the CA.
themselves, the employer, or employee's family member
after a diagnosis has been
Can an employee make a claim under the work injury compensation regime and bring a civil suit against the employer in respect of a workplace-related injury at the same time?
An employee cannot seek compensation in respect of an injury under the WICA and bring a civil suit against the employer for damages in
Compensation awarded under the ECO will be taken into consideration in any common law damages award.
Section 7 of the CA provides that a claim for or receiving rights or benefits under the CA shall not prejudice the right or benefit which an employee is entitled to under other laws.
Receiving benefits under the Work-Accident Insurance Program does not prevent the employee from filing a civil suit against the employer.
Are there limits on the compensation that an employee may claim?
respect of that injury at the same time.
Employees can claim for the following types of compensation under the WICA: medical leave wages; medical expenses; and lump sum compensation
for permanent incapacity, current incapacity or death.
The amount of compensation under the WICA is calculated according to specific provisions in the WICA and its schedules, and is subject to upper limits.
Employees can claim the following types of compensation under the ECO: loss of earnings or earning
capacity; medical expenses; costs and maintenance of
prostheses and surgical appliances.
The amount of compensation under the ECO is calculated according to specific provisions in the ECO and its schedules, and is subject to upper limits.
There are limits on the amount of compensation. For instance, under the relevant Ministerial Regulations issued pursuant to the CA: when an employee suffers
from accidents or sickness as a result of work, the amount of actual necessary medical expenses that an employer must pay is generally capped at THB 50,000 (approx. US$1,500) (although this may be increased depending on the circumstances); and when an employee suffers from accidents or sickness as a result of work causing death or disappearance, the amount of funeral expenses that an employer must pay is fixed at THB 40,000 (approx. US$1,200).
The primary form of benefits under the Work-Accident Insurance Program is disbursements or direct payment of medical bills as incurred by the employee during their treatment. BPJS Manpower may require that medical treatments be carried out at appointed hospitals or medical facilities. There are also limits to the level of medical treatment covered (eg only certain hospital class/ward types are eligible for coverage and any cost for upgrades must be borne by the employee).
Where an employee cannot continue their treatments in a hospital due to physical disability or geographical constraints, the employee is entitled to receive home care recovery treatment capped at Rp20,000,000 (~US$1,500) a year. If, after a year, the treatment continues and the
costs have reached Rp20,000,000, the treatment may continue in a medical facility that has a cooperation with the Manpower BPJS.
In addition, where the employee suffers from total disability or death (including death that is not caused by work accident or occupational disease), the employee's child may receive a scholarship to cover their education costs under Regulation 5/2021. The amount of the scholarship varies depending on the child's level of education.
What needs to be proven to receive benefits under the work injury compensation regime?
An employee will need to show that they suffered a personal injury by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment.
Alternatively, an employee is also entitled to compensation if they can prove that the incapacity occurred from a prescribed occupational disease or if they contracted a disease from exposure to biological or chemical agents at work.
An employee will need to show that they suffered a personal injury by an accident arising out of, and in the course of, employment.
Alternatively, an employee is also entitled to compensation if they can prove that the incapacity occurred from a prescribed occupational disease.
Where an employee suffers from an accident or sickness as a result of work or has disappeared during work: the employer shall notify
the relevant Social Security Office of such accident, sickness, or disappearance pursuant to the form and procedure prescribed by the Secretary-General of the Social Security Office, within 15 days from the date on which the
An employee will need to show that they suffered a physical injury due to a certain event or occurrence related to work (including injury suffered in an accident during commute to or from work)
There are specific documents which need to be submitted to support a claim. For instance: if the injury is suffered due
to an accident during commute to the office, it needs to be proven that
There is no need to prove fault or negligence to establish a claim under the WICA.
There is no need to prove fault or negligence to establish a claim under the ECO.
employer knows or should have known of such accident, sickness, or disappearance; and the employee must submit a claim for compensation to the relevant Social Security Office pursuant to the form and procedure prescribed by the Secretary-General of the Social Security Office, within 180 days from the date of suffering from such accident, sickness or disappearance.
the injury is suffered from an accident that occurs after the employee leaves home. A police report or a statement from 2 witnesses of the accident is also required as evidence; if the injury is suffered due to an accident which occurs during an official duty or business travel, (a) an assignment letter (surat tugas) or work order letter (surat perintah) and (b) a police report or a statement from 2 witnesses having knowledge about the accident is required as evidence; if injury is suffered due to an accident which occurs during office hours (including during lunch time), a police report or a statement from 2 witnesses having knowledge about the accident is required as evidence; in case of a sudden death of an employee at work and the employee is
brought to a medical facility, it must be proven that the death occurs within 24 hours since the sickness/illness begins; or if the injury is suffered during overtime, then the overtime work order is required as evidence.