MOM: WICA adjustments due to wage growth, rising healthcare costs

Ministry denies it was looking to incentivise employers to prioritise safety

MOM: WICA adjustments due to wage growth, rising healthcare costs

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower has denied that it raised the compensation limits under the Work Injury Compensation (WIC) Act to incentivise employers to prioritise safety measures.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng maintained that it made the adjustments to "keep pace with wage growth and rising healthcare costs."

To incentivise employers to prioritise workplace safety, Tan said they have made employers' WIC insurance claims data and safety records available to WIC insurers since 2021.

"This facilitates insurers to differentiate insurance premiums so employers with better safety records can enjoy lower premiums," Tan said in a statement.

"The Ministry of Manpower has observed that insurers are indeed differentiating premiums accordingly, where companies with poorer safety records are paying higher WIC insurance premiums."

The minister made the remarks when answering a question in Parliament about the recent increase in WICA compensation limits, which the government previously attributed to wage growth and rising healthcare costs.

In Singapore, the projected increase for medical care will reach 10.67% in 2024, according to the latest WTW Global Medical Trends Survey.

Prioritising workplace safety, health

Meanwhile, Tan said it is important for top management to prioritise investments in safety practices for better workplace safety and health (WSH) outcomes.                                 

Among the government's efforts to encourage this goal is by mandating chief executives and Board of Directors of companies in higher-risk industries to attend the Top Executive WSH Programme in March.

The government is also enhancing WSH requirements in public sector construction and construction-related projects, which will take effect for tends called on and after April 1.

As part of this measure, the government will extend a WSH Bonus Scheme for public sector projects with project sum at or above $50 million to incentivise strong safety performance and culture throughout the construction phase.

These measures will "align incentives among developers, main contractors, and subcontractors to collectively improve safety practices," according to Tan.

Singapore's construction and manufacturing sectors contributed 54% of all the fatal and major injuries in the first half of 2023, making them the top contributors during the period.

The government introduced last year the so-called Safety Accountability, Focus, and Empowerment (SAFE) measures to improve WSH outcomes in these sectors, as well as others, across the country.

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