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Compensation limits for workers to rise by 20%

SINGAPORE — From January next year, compensation limits for death and permanent incapacity under the Work Injury Compensation Act will be increased by about 20 per cent, while the maximum claimable amount for medical expenses will go up from S$30,000 to S$36,000.

Compensation limits for workers to rise by 20%

Construction workers working at a construction site on Jan 15, 2014. TODAY file photo.

SINGAPORE — From January next year, compensation limits for death and permanent incapacity under the Work Injury Compensation Act will be increased by about 20 per cent, while the maximum claimable amount for medical expenses will go up from S$30,000 to S$36,000.

The increases were announced by Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say during the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Awards today (July 29).

The changes to the Act, to take effect from Jan 1, will see the compensation limits for permanent incapacitation go up from between S$73,000 and S$218,000, to between S$88,000 and S$262,000. The limits in case of death will go up from between S$57,000 and S$170,000, to between S$69,000 and S$204,000.

Under the Act, workers can claim compensation from their employers.

Apart from increasing the maximum claimable amount for medical expenses to S$36,000, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also allow workers to claim expenses that will help them to  return to work, such as physiotherapy, and occupational and speech therapy.

“In the unfortunate event of an accident despite our best efforts, we must take care of our injured workers,” Mr Lim said during the WSH Awards, which was held at Resorts World Sentosa.

The awards saw 191 companies and individuals honoured for achieving high standards of safety and health at their workplaces. The existing compensation limits were set under the Work Injury Compensation Act in 2012, based on the median wage of resident employees in 2010.

The MOM said the changes were aimed at ensuring that the compensation limits remain relevant, as it estimated that both the median nominal wage of resident employees, and medical bills for industrial accidents, had also increased in recent years.

“It’s about time we keep up with wage increase and inflation in medical cost,” said Mr Lim today.

Several employers whom TODAY spoke to agreed that it was indeed time to revise the compensation limits.

“Although there is a slight increase, it is fair enough and shouldn’t really affect (our company),” said a spokesperson from Takenaka Corporation, which won the WSH Innovation Award tonight.

Although the construction firm has more than 1,000 employees, on and off, the increase in compensation limits will not be too much of a burden, since the staff are already covered by insurance, said Mr Robin Neo, the Project WSH Manager for Takenaka’s Changi Airport Terminal 4 project.

Mr Desmond Hill, the executive general manager of  Penta-Ocean Construction, said he did not think that the increase would affect the insurance premiums of his workers, as the construction industry is already moving towards zero injuries.

“If we are moving towards zero accidents and zero deaths, I don’t see a situation where the premiums will go up too much,” he added.

Since the construction industry is one of the high-risk sectors when it comes to workplace injuries and fatalities, Mr Hill said “it is only right that we look after the people who contribute to the landscape of Singapore”.

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