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Work Injury Act in Singapore (WICA) - A Comprehensive Guide

Author Gabi Bellairs-LombardGabi Bellairs-Lombard

6 min read
Better Business

This guide to the Work Injury Compensation (WICA) in Singapore provides an in-depth understanding of the country's legal framework, eligibility criteria, and coverage under WICA. From employees' rights and obligations to the role of employers, this guide offers valuable insights.

Work Injury Act in Singapore (WICA) - A Comprehensive Guide

The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) allows employees to claim compensation for work injuries or illnesses without legal action under common law.

Dealing with a work-related injury can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Apart from the physical and emotional pain, there are also financial implications to consider. In Singapore, however, employees are protected by WICA insurance, which provides compensation for employees who suffer from work-related injuries. Whether you are an employee seeking compensation or an employer looking to understand your obligations, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about work injury compensation in Singapore.

Understanding Work Injury Compensation

Work injury compensation is a system that aims to provide financial assistance to employees who have sustained injuries during the course of their work. This compensation covers medical expenses, loss of income, and other related costs, helping employees get back on their feet while they recover.

It's important to note that work injury compensation is a no-fault system in Singapore. This means that employees are still entitled to compensation regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This is a significant relief for employees worrying about potential disputes or legal battles.

Eligibility for Work Injury Compensation

To be eligible for work injury compensation, you must meet certain requirements. Firstly, you need to be an employee covered under the Work Injury Compensation Act. This Act covers almost every employee in Singapore, including part-time, full-time, and casual workers. However, there are a few exceptions, such as domestic workers and uniformed personnel.

Secondly, the injury must have occurred during the course of employment. This means that the injury must be directly related to your work and must have happened while you were performing your job duties. Whether it is a slip and fall, a machinery accident, or even a workplace assault, as long as it happened in the workplace or during work hours, you may be eligible for compensation.

Criteria for employees covered under the Work Injury Compensation Act

The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) in Singapore compensates employees who suffer from work-related injuries or occupational diseases. To be eligible for compensation, employees must meet specific criteria. Firstly, they must be engaged in manual labour, including clerical work, and earn a monthly wage not exceeding a prescribed limit.

The Act covers local and foreign employees, regardless of their contract type, as long as they fulfil these eligibility requirements. Ensuring compliance with the WICA and accurately documenting employees' eligibility for compensation is a crucial aspect of company secretarial services. Professional assistance can help businesses navigate the intricacies of the Act, properly assess employees' eligibility, and maintain compliant records for potential compensation claims.

Exclusions and limitations

While the Work Injury Compensation Act covers a broad range of work-related injuries and illnesses, certain exclusions and limitations apply. The Act does not cover injuries resulting from willful misconduct, self-inflicted injuries, or injuries caused by intoxication or the influence of drugs. It also excludes injuries arising from diseases unrelated to the employee's occupation. Additionally, the Act imposes time limits for filing claims, emphasising the importance of promptly reporting workplace injuries to ensure eligibility for compensation.

Criteria for Employees Covered Under the Work Injury Compensation Act

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While work injury compensation covers a broad range of work-related injuries, there are certain exclusions and limitations to be aware of. Injuries caused by self-inflicted acts, willful misconduct, or intoxication are not covered. Similarly, injuries sustained during an unauthorised break or while commuting to and from work are also not covered.

Furthermore, work injury compensation only covers injuries that result in permanent incapacity or death. Temporary injuries, such as sprains or minor fractures, may not be eligible for compensation. However, if these injuries result in income loss or significant medical expenses, you may still be entitled to certain benefits.

Work-related injuries can take many forms, ranging from minor to severe accidents. Here are some common types of work-related injuries:

  • Slips, trips, and falls: These accidents may occur due to wet or slippery surfaces, poorly maintained infrastructure, or lack of safety equipment.
  • Machinery accidents: Injuries caused by malfunctioning machinery, lack of training, or inadequate safety measures.
  • Repetitive strain injuries: These occur due to repetitive motions, such as typing or lifting heavy objects, leading to strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal issues.
  • Chemical exposure: Contact with hazardous substances or improper handling of chemicals can result in various health issues, ranging from skin irritations to respiratory problems.
  • Workplace violence: Assaults or physical altercations in the workplace causing injuries.

If you have suffered any of these or other work-related injuries, it is crucial to report them promptly to ensure timely compensation.

Reporting a Work Injury

When a work injury occurs, it is essential to report it to your employer as soon as possible. Reporting the injury promptly helps establish a clear record and ensures you meet the legal requirements for seeking compensation. Failure to report the injury within a reasonable time may result in delays or even denial of your claim.

When reporting a work injury, provide as much detail as possible, including the incident's date, time, and location. Describe the circumstances leading to the injury, the nature of the injury itself, and any witnesses present. Keeping a copy of the incident report for your records is also crucial.

Work Injury Compensation Claims Process

Once you have reported your work injury, the process for seeking compensation begins. Here is an overview of the typical claims process:

  • Medical treatment: Seek medical attention immediately and keep records of all medical examinations, treatments, and expenses related to the injury.
  • Inform your employer: Notify your employer about the injury and provide them with a copy of the medical certificate.
  • Consult a lawyer: Consider seeking legal advice to understand your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation.
  • Submit a claim: File a claim with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) within one year from the date of the accident. Include all relevant documents, such as medical reports, accident reports, and income statements.
  • Investigation and assessment: MOM will investigate the claim, review the medical evidence, and assess the extent of your injury and loss of income.
  • Compensation: If your claim is successful, MOM will determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to. This compensation covers medical expenses, income loss, and other related costs.

The duration of the claims process may vary depending on the case's complexity. Having a lawyer guide you through the process can significantly speed up the proceedings.

Calculation of Work Injury Compensation

The calculation of work injury compensation considers various factors, such as the severity of the injury and the employee's average monthly earnings. The compensation amount is determined using fixed formulas outlined in the Work Injury Compensation Act.

For permanent incapacity, the compensation is calculated based on a percentage of the employee's average monthly earnings, subject to a maximum limit. The percentage varies depending on the severity of the incapacity. In case of death, the compensation includes funeral expenses and a lump sum payment to the employee's dependents.

It's important to note that employers must have work injury insurance to cover these compensation payments. The business insurance amount is based on the employee's wages and the nature of their work.

Insurance Coverage for Work Injury Compensation

Employees must understand the terms of their employer's insurance policy, including coverage limits and claim procedures. In cases where a company operates through a nominee director, it becomes imperative for employees to have clarity regarding the insurance coverage and the responsibilities of the nominee director in facilitating the claims process.

Being informed about the insurance coverage and policy details empowers employees to navigate the necessary steps in the event of an injury, ensuring a smoother claims experience.

Responsibilities of Employers and Employees

Work injury compensation is a collective effort involving both employers and employees. Here are the key responsibilities of each party:


  • Provide a safe working environment and implement necessary safety measures.
  • Ensure employees are adequately trained to perform their duties safely.
  • Maintain accurate records of work injuries and report them to relevant authorities.
  • Purchase work injury insurance coverage for employees.


  • Adhere to workplace safety protocols and use provided safety equipment.
  • Report work injuries promptly to the employer.
  • Provide accurate and complete information during the claims process.
  • Cooperate with the employer and MOM during investigations.

By fulfilling these responsibilities, employers and employees contribute to a safer workplace and ensure a smooth implementation of the work injury compensation system.

Rehabilitation and Return to Work

The Worker Injury Compensation Act in Singapore not only provides compensation for work-related injuries but also emphasises the importance of rehabilitation and returning employees to work. Employers must provide injured employees with necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation services to facilitate their recovery. This includes medical examinations, hospitalisation, surgeries, physiotherapy, and vocational training. Employers are encouraged to reasonably accommodate injured employees and facilitate their successful return to the workforce.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with the provisions of the Work Injury Compensation Act can result in penalties for employers. Failure to report an accident or injury, refusal to provide necessary medical treatment or non-payment of compensation can lead to fines and legal consequences. Employers found guilty of offences may face penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or both, depending on the severity of the violation. Employers must comply with the Act's requirements to ensure the welfare and rights of their employees and avoid potential legal repercussions.


Work injury compensation provides employees with the necessary support and financial assistance when they most need it. By understanding the various aspects of work injury compensation in Singapore, employees can confidently navigate the process and ensure fair compensation for their injuries. Employers, too, play a crucial role by creating a safe work environment and adhering to legal obligations.

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