Planning more help for injured workers, disabled job seekers

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is studying ways to better support injured workers and help people with disabilities find work, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said in Parliament yesterday.

It is considering making it compulsory for companies to report all work injuries that result in medical leave or the worker being given light duty, as part of a public consultation paper on amendments to the Work Injury Compensation Act that will be finalised in April, he said in response to Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC).

Currently, the law requires companies to report incidents to the ministry when workers are given more than three days of sick leave, or if they are hospitalised for at least 24 hours.

This is in line with the reporting criteria in other developed countries, like those in the European Union, said Mr Zaqy.

He also told Mr Ng that his ministry will study if doctors, rather than employers, should be the ones required to report such work injuries.

The Health Ministry will be consulted on this as well, he added.

The issue of inadequate leave for injured workers has come under the spotlight after orthopaedic surgeon Kevin Yip Man Hing appealed last month against his conviction by a Singapore Medical Council disciplinary tribunal for professional misconduct.

 
 
 
 

Dr Yip did not give any sick leave to a construction worker who had surgery for a broken collarbone and certified him fit for "light duties" on discharge.

The tribunal, which investigated the incident after a complaint by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, suspended him for five months last year.

The worker had fallen from a height in July 2011, fracturing his collarbone and ribs, and injuring his wrist.

Giving an update on support for people with disabilities, Mr Zaqy said more than 1,600 people with disabilities have found jobs through various job-matching services and programmes in the past three years.

Still, the Government can do better to help them, he added.

His ministry hopes to get more enlightened employers to take advantage of hiring schemes that have been rolled out, like the Open Door Programme administered by SG Enable. The programme provides dedicated support to employers to hire and train people with disabilities.

He was replying to Nominated MP Anthea Ong, who said she was concerned about the reportedly small proportion - about 4.9 per cent - of disabled people who are employed.

Mr Zaqy said the MOM will release more comprehensive data on the employment and unemployment of people with disabilities later this year, as the reported figure in the media last week was based only on publicly available data.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2019, with the headline 'Planning more help for injured workers, disabled job seekers'. Print Edition | Subscribe