Did you know about the Compensation Fund administered by the Department of Labour?
The fund provides compensation for workers who get injured at work, or sick from diseases contracted at work, or for death as a result of the injuries or diseases. Workers’ access to the fund is protected by Section 27 of the Constitution (i.e. the right to social security).
The Compensation Fund is located in Pretoria and is covered by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (1993) and Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amended Act (1997). Remember, this is the law.
Recently, Parliament adopted further changes to the law governing the Compensation Fund to include domestic workers. This includes casual workers.
As a worker, you may only claim compensation if the injury or occupational illness has been assessed as ‘permanent disablement’, ‘temporary disablement’ or ‘temporary total disablement’.
All employers are required to register with the Compensation Fund and pay annual assessment fees. The registration includes all workers on the employer’s payroll. Workers do not pay anything to the Compensation Fund. Employers cannot deduct any fees from workers’ remuneration in order to pay into the Compensation Fund.
What are the reporting procedures under the Compensation Fund’ for when an injury on duty has occurred?
- The worker’s responsibility is to report the accident to the employer as soon as possible after such an accident has happened. If the worker does not give the employer and the Compensation Fund notice on the prescribed form, the claim may not be considered.
- Should the employer fail to report the accident, the worker has to complete a Notice of Accident and Claim for Compensation form. The form can be submitted to the labour centre or directly to the Compensation Fund.
- The worker must assist the employer in obtaining the medical reports. The employer may choose the doctor. The worker must make sure to see the doctor regularly and ensure that the claim is finalised. In the meantime, it is important that the worker makes regular enquiries about the claim.
- The employer’s responsibility is to report the accident in the prescribed manner by completing the ‘Employer’s Report of an Accident’ form which must be submitted to the Compensation Fund within seven days after the accident took place.
- The employer should obtain the ‘First Medical Report’ from the treating doctor. The medical report is an important requirement when liability for the payment of compensation and medical expenses is considered.
- The employer should obtain the ‘Progress Medical Report’ which is an indication that the worker is receiving prolonged medical treatment and is off- duty as a result of injuries sustained in an accident. Progress Medical Reports should be submitted on a monthly basis to the Fund to ensure that compensation in respect of total disablement is paid timeously.
- The employer should obtain and submit the ‘Final Medical Report’ as soon as the worker’s condition has become stable. The doctor has to describe the loss of function as a result of the accident, if any, to enable the Compensation Fund to assess permanent disability if any.
- The employer must complete and submit the ‘Resumption Report’ after the worker has returned to work. When the worker is booked off-duty for a lengthy period, interim reports must be submitted.
- Finally, should the claim qualify for the payment of compensation, the employer must submit the worker’s banking details.
If the Compensation Fund has rejected the claim with written, valid and lawful reasons, the decision will be communicated to the worker in writing. The Compensation Fund will invite the worker to submit a written ‘Objection Form’ within 180 days. For the way in which compensation is calculated, see table below:
Employers should not wait for full documentation before reporting an accident. Workers in the construction, electrical and metal industries are covered by Rand Mutual Assurance Company (Pty) Limited and mineworkers by Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases, Department of Health.