PROPOSAL FOR WORK INJURY COMPENSATION TO COVER INJURIES
SUSTAINED BY MIGRANT WORKERS AT DORMITORIES

Murali Pillai
2 min readFeb 7, 2024

During an MPS session, I met a resident who runs a company that employed Migrant Domestic Workers. He related to me an incident involving one of his workers who suffered a fall from height at his dormitory. Injuries from such falls are not covered by workmen compensation insurance. The medical bill, which is unsubsidised, came up to several tens of thousands of dollars, is substantially higher than the ceiling of insurance policy the employer took to cover such events. I therefore raised a question with the Minister for Manpower seeking data on the number of injuries sustained by migrant workers in their dormitories and soliciting his view to potentially expand the coverage of workmen compensation insurance include such dormitory-based injuries and fatalities. My parliamentary question and the Minister’s response are set out below.

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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Manpower (a) for each of the past five years, how many migrant workers have sustained injuries whilst they were at their dormitories which are not covered by work injury insurance; and (b) whether the scope of the Work Injury Compensation Act 2019 may be reviewed to include injuries and death of migrant workers arising from accidents at dormitories so as to broaden the insurance coverage for the same.

Dr Tan See Leng: The Ministry of Manpower does not track non-work related injuries as the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) covers injuries arising out of and in the course of work. Non-work injuries sustained by migrant workers at their dormitories are not covered by WICA.

There are affordable non-work injury insurance options available for migrant workers. Migrant workers can register for the Migrant Workers’ Centre Associate Membership, which provides insurance coverage for death, total and permanent disability and critical illnesses not arising from work, at $6 for the first year and $24 annually for subsequent years. In addition, migrant workers’ medical expenses, including from non-work related injuries, will be covered by the employer via mandatory medical insurance or otherwise, as required under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

WICA was introduced as a no-fault claims regime to protect employees to claim compensation for injuries that arose out of and in the course of work, in a fair and expeditious manner without having to take legal action. Given that WICA covers all employees, employers’ obligations under WICA are scoped specifically to work-related injuries and there are no plans to expand this scope.

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Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.