SINGAPORE: Employers have to compensate their employees for injuries sustained during work-from-home arrangements, said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad in Parliament on Thursday (Jun 4).
“Work-from-home arrangements do not change an employer’s responsibility for work injury compensation,” said Mr Zaqy.
Mr Zaqy was responding to a question by Member of Parliament Patrick Tay for clarity on the treatment of work injury compensation when the employee’s home is the workplace.
“The key is to ascertain that the injury arose while doing work at home and not while performing non-work activities at home. This is a fact-finding exercise that is no different from all other WIC (work injury compensation) claims,” said Mr Zaqy.
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Non-essential workers in Singapore have been working from home since Apr 7, when Singapore imposed a "circuit breaker" period to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The circuit breaker period ended on Jun 1 and Singapore entered its first phase of reopening, but only businesses that operate in settings with lower transmission risks have been allowed to reopen, meaning many employees are still working from home.
Work injury compensation insurance is purchased by employers, and covers employees who are injured out of and during the course of doing work at home, said Mr Zaqy.
Since the start of the circuit breaker, there have been two reported work injuries, said Mr Zaqy, in response to a supplementary question by Mr Tay on whether the Manpower Ministry received work injury cases “as a result of working from home scenarios”.
Both claims are being assessed at the moment, said Mr Zaqy, adding that he was unable to provide additional details due to ongoing investigations.
"But so far you look at the valid claims in the past, they’ve been mostly minor injuries and so far no terminal capacity or no fatal cases," he said.
There have been no changes in the premiums for work injury compensation insurance as well, he said.