COS 2021: Work Injury Compensation Act for All Singaporean Workers

Mr Pritam Singh: Sir, Work Injury Compensation coverage has represented a form of worker protection that long predates even Singapore’s independence. It serves as a critical bulwark to protect workers against accidents, providing them important financial relief and some degree of protection in times of uncertainty and distress. Even so, the central role of platform workers or gig economy workers in the economy over the last few years has shown no signs of abating. In a time of heightened retrenchment and lower salary prospects, such work provides an important outlet for many Singaporeans workers.

In this light, concerns abound over the lack of important worker protections for this group of Singaporean workers. Independent contractors under a contract for service also find themselves in a similar predicament. I have come across Singaporeans undertaking delivery work, like couriers, for example, finding themselves without WICA coverage. In the event they injure themselves in the course of their work, while loading their vehicles for example, no prospect of Work Injury Compensation exists for them.

Does MOM have any indication of the number of such workers without WICA coverage, especially those in the low-income bracket? Separately, does MOM have any plan to address the worker protections for such Singaporean workers? This is in light of developments in other jurisdictions, like the UK, where the Supreme Court recently recognised platform workers as employees, lending weight to important questions over the appropriate statutory protections that should be extended to such workers in future.

Ministry of Manpower
2 March 2021

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