Two employers fined a total of $41,000 for not insuring and paying for workers’ injuries

Posted on December 31, 2017.

SINGAPORE – Two employers were fined a total of $41,000 by the State Courts last month for failing to buy work injury insurance for their workers, and for not paying compensation for their injuries when ordered to do so, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Dec 28).

Renovation firm Valiancy Enterprise was fined $20,000 after it pleaded guilty to one count of non-payment of compensation and five counts of non-insurance on Nov 7, said an MOM statement.

Suriakumar Ridgeway Ramaiah, the sole proprietor of Ridgeway Marine and Construction, was fined $21,000 after pleading guilty to the same charges on Nov 16.

“Of the approximately 30,000 work injury compensation cases processed annually, over 99.9 per cent of valid claims are settled in full,” said Ms Kee Ee Wah, director of the Work Injury Compensation Department at the ministry.

Valiancy Enterprise had failed to pay a carpenter $25,000 in compensation although it was ordered to do so by MOM in October 2016. Mr Phua Soon Beng had the tip of his left thumb sliced off by a wood cutting machine in November 2015.

Investigations by MOM showed that at the time, the firm did not insure and maintain work injury compensation insurance for five employees, including Mr Phua.

Besides the $20,000 fine, Valiancy has been barred from applying and renewing work permits for six months. The firm has since paid the $25,000 to Mr Phua.

In the case of Ridgeway Marine and Construction, Suriakumar paid only $2,480 of the $11,625 he was supposed to give a marine trades worker by a stipulated deadline, after an order was issued on Sept 28, 2016.

The Bangladeshi worker, Mr Sujan Ahmed Late Ali Ahmed, had injured his right elbow and back after falling from a ladder at work in May 2015.

Suriakumar did not buy insurance for 11 employees, including Mr Sujan, at the time of the accident.

Suriakumar was fined $21,000 and barred from applying and renewing work permits for six months. He was also sentenced to 120 days in jail as he had defaulted on the fine and worker compensation.

Mr Sujan will receive an ex-gratia payment from the Workers’ Fund run by MOM for his work injury claim.

Ms Kee said employers are required by law to purchase work injury compensation insurance and have to pay compensation to workers who are injured at work. She added that the ministry will take enforcement action against employers who do not insure and maintain such insurance.

Under the Work Injury Compensation Act, employers convicted of the non-payment of work injury compensation within the stipulated timeline, or of failure to insure and maintain insurance, may be liable to a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 12 months’ jail, or both.