Firm failed to compensate non-manual worker for injury

In a first here, an employer has been taken to court for failing to pay work injury compensation to an employee who does not do manual labour.

Marketing and communications firm Lyon & Dianzi was fined $8,000 on Thursday, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM) yesterday. Mr Kumarawatte Dharshana Sanjeewa, who was a senior art director, fell down a flight of stairs in the two-storey shophouse office in 2012 and dislocated his right shoulder.

Lyon & Dianzi was ordered to pay $18,262.64 for medical leave wages and medical expenses.

In June last year, the company was ordered to pay another $21,800 to Mr Sanjeewa as he suffered 10 per cent permanent incapacity due to torn cartilage in his right shoulder. However, it failed to pay both amounts.

MOM prosecuted Lyon & Dianzi under the Work Injury Compensation Act (Wica), which states that employers are liable to pay compensation if there is a valid claim filed by workers, even those in non-manual roles, who are injured during their work.

The cases prosecuted under Wica for non-payment of compensation typically involve construction and marine workers.

It is not mandatory for employers to buy insurance to cover their liability under Wica for non-manual workers earning more than $1,600 a month but they are encouraged to, said MOM's work injury compensation department director, Ms Kee Ee Wah, in a statement.

The Straits Times understands that Lyon & Dianzi is winding up. Calls to its office were answered by another firm, though the business is still registered as "live" with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'Firm failed to compensate non-manual worker for injury'. Print Edition | Subscribe