New insurance scheme to further protect migrant workers
One of the uncertainties migrant workers in Singapore face is not knowing what will happen to their families back home should tragedy befall them.
While covered for injuries at the workplace, workers like Mr Ganesan Udaiyanathan are uninsured against non-work related accidents and critical illnesses.
Their fears stand to be allayed as Singapore-based venture philanthropy organisation Leap201 and the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) jointly announced a partnership yesterday to enhance the protection of migrant workers through a new insurance scheme.
Underwritten by NTUC Income, the scheme - Care4MigrantWorkers - will offer a lump sum payout of $10,000 to an insured migrant worker who dies, suffers total and permanent disability, or is diagnosed with certain critical illnesses, such as cancer.
It is the first low-cost group term life insurance designed for migrant workers here and will be offered to employers of migrant workers at $9 a year.
Mr Udaiyanathan, who works at Keppel Shipyard, told The New Paper yesterday how this can help him and his wife in India. The 34-year-old said: "Without insurance we are always uncertain as we don't know what will happen to our family when there is an accident or illness. Having insurance is a relief as we know our family can get something if anything happens to us."
Yesterday, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Leap201 and MWC. Leap201 chairman Michael Lien (photo) said that as a responsible host country, Singapore must care for those who work here.
"We need to have a general agreement in society of what is the basic standard of care for migrant workers, and that is a conversation we hope to participate in with our partners."
To encourage employers to purchase this insurance, Leap201 and MWC have collectively raised $600,000, which will be used to subsidise the insurance payment for the first 50,000 migrant workers for the first two years. With the subsidy, employers of these workers will have to pay just $3 a year for the first two years for each migrant worker insured.
NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, who was also at the event, said: "While I appreciate the impromptu provision of assistance to our migrant workers, it is good to have institutionalised ways to help migrant workers and today's MOU is a good example of this."