Awareness of new measures in workplace injury compensation for migrant workers

Parliamentary Question, 5 Nov 2019

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the training and communication plan to employers for the new safety requirements under the Work Injury Compensation Act; (b) how does the Ministry ensure that workers know who to approach when they encounter work injuries; © what is the number of times that errant doctors have been reported over migrant work injuries in the last three years; (d) what is the number of civil claims for such work injuries that have been won in the last three years; and (e) how does the Ministry ensure that the Singapore Medical Council and Law Society of Singapore support efforts to protect migrant workers in work injury cases.

Mrs Josephine Teo: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has been actively engaging employers to inform them about the new requirements under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA). We have advertised the new requirements on mainstream newspapers and social media platforms, and provided resources on MOM website to guide employers.

Together with the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U SME and Singapore Institution of Safety Officers (SISO), we have briefed close to 2,000 employers, HR practitioners and safety officers in the past two months following the passing of the WICA amendments. We have also worked with them to disseminate information regarding the new requirements to their broader membership base. We will be briefing more employers in the coming months.

Through the mandatory Settling-in Programme (SIP) for foreign workers, we havebeen educating workers that they should approach their immediate supervisors if they sustain work injuries. We have published guides in the workers’ native languages, and have been working with partners such as the unions to raise awareness.

On the question of errant doctors, we received seven complaints in the last three years, of which four were referred to the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). They are pending SMC’s investigation.

We do not track the outcome of civil claims, although the Commissioner of Labour awarded compensation to about 45,000 WICA claims in the last three years.

We will continue to refer cases of suspected professional misconduct by doctors and lawyers to SMC and Law Society of Singapore, respectively, for investigation and disciplinary action. We support their investigations by performing our own enquiry into workers’ complaints, and sharing our findings and assessments with the professional bodies. For instance, in cases of insufficient medical leave, we would advise the worker to get treatment at another clinic if they have not already done so. We would then share the first and second doctor’s prescription of medical leave with SMC, and provide them the assessment of whether the first doctor’s prescription seemed insufficient for the injury.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

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A full-time human, and part-time everything else.

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.