On 10 March 2021, the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner published regulations with regard to Domestic Workers being covered by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).
This was in response to a Constitutional Court Order made on 19 November 2020 which declared that this means that Domestic employees will now be entitled for compensation in the event they are injured or contract diseases while on duty. In addition, the order has been made retrospective to 27 April 1994.
As per the COIDA Act:
the employee is a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or of apprenticeship or learnership, with an employer, whether the contract is express or implied, oral or in writing, and whether the remuneration is calculated by time or by work done, or is in cash or in kind. Types of benefits paid in terms of the Act Compensation payable to domestic workers for occupational injuries and diseases.
Specifically covered by the act, other than permanent employees are:
- Members of Body Corporates
- Employees provided by a Labour Broker
Domestic workers together with Members of the Armed Forces, Police Force and Independent Contractors were excluded until the new ruling.
The cover now provided to Domestic Workers who have been injured on duty or who have contracted a disease during the course of their duty, is the same as the benefit available to all employees and has been well described in the document published by the DOL as follows:
- Temporary total disablement (TTD)
- The TTD is payable to an injured employee who is booked off for a period of 4 days and more by the treating doctor to recuperate from the injuries/condition in respect of the occupational diseases suffered at the time of the accident/diagnosis. The maximum period payable is 24 months.
- Permanent disablement lump sum
- The permanent disablement lump sum is paid to an employee who has received a final medical report from the treating doctor indicating that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement. The permanent disablement should be 1-30% for the Compensation Fund to pay this benefit.
- Permanent disablement pension
- The permanent disablement pension is paid to an employee who has received a final medical report from the treating doctor indicating that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement. The permanent disablement should be 31 -100% for the Compensation Fund to pay this benefit. Compensation payable to the dependants of employees who died as a result of injury on duty or occupational disease.
- Funeral expenses payable to dependents of a deceased employee with a date of death before the 1st of April 2019
- The actual expenses incurred for the burial of a deceased employee are refunded to the dependants up to a maximum amount that is detailed in schedule 4 annually.
- Funeral benefits payable to deceased employees with the date of death of 1st April 2019 and after
- The amount of R18 251.00 is paid as a lump sum to the dependants of employees who died as a result of injury on duty or occupational disease on and after the 1st of April 2019.
- Widow’s lump sum award
- The surviving spouse of the deceased employee is paid a widow’s lump sum. This amount is split evenly to the spouses of the deceased employee in case of multiple surviving spouses.
- Widow’s pension award
- The widow also receives a pension from the Compensation Fund. This pension is only terminated on the death of the widow.
- Child pension award
- The children of the deceased employee are also paid a pension up to the age of 18 years or when they get married or financially emancipated. This pension may be extended for children who are still going to school after turning 18 years.
- Partial dependency award
- This award is paid to the parents or siblings of the deceased employee if there is no surviving spouse or child. This is a once off lump sum that is paid to one individual.
- Wholly dependency award
- This is a pension award paid to the parents or siblings of the deceased employee who were dependant on the income of the deceased employee. The award is paid if there is no surviving spouse or child. The pension is terminated by the death of the recipient or the expiry of the lifespan of the deceased employee.
- Orthotics and Rehabilitation
- The following benefits are also available through the Compensation Fund for qualifying applicants,
- Bursaries for youth
- The Compensation Fund provides bursaries for tertiary studies to unemployed youth, dependents of Compensation Fund pensioners and dependents of those who suffered fatal occupational injuries between the ages of 17 to 25 years.
- Return to work Programme.
- The return-to-work programme provides skills development and facilitation of return-to-work for injured/diseased workers who are mainly persons with disabilities. Injured workers who have disabilities may apply for funding towards skills development that will provide equal developmental opportunities to maximise performance, employability, and participation in the labour market.
- Assistive devices
- The Compensation Fund provides assistive devices such as wheelchairs and prosthetics to injured workers who have sustained a disability. The process of obtaining an assistive device is derived from the medical reports and is preauthorised to ensure that the beneficiary receives a device according to their medical requirements.
- Rehabilitation and re-integration
- The Compensation Fund provides rehabilitation and reintegration programmes whose objective is to ensure all the needs of injured workers with disabilities are addressed. Case management ensures follow ups with workers who have sustained a disability with regards to their medical and social rehabilitation needs
- Medical Benefits
- The following medical benefits are available through the Compensation Fund to qualifying claimants.
- Medical claims
- The Compensation Fund will process reasonable medical expenses to gazetted Medical Service Providers and institutions that treated the employee.
- Re-opening of the claim
- The Compensation Fund will re-open a claim for further treatment once the claim has exceeded two years from the date of accident and the employee still needs further treatment.
- Chronic medication
- Chronic medication will be considered where an employee has contracted an occupational disease or injury that requires chronic medication. The treating medical practitioner must confirm the need for chronic treatment.
CLAIMS PRESCRIPTION PERIOD
A right to claim in terms of the Act shall lapse if the accident that happened or the disease that commenced on or after 27th April 1994 is not brought to the attention of the Commissioner or of the employer or mutual association concerned, as the case may be, within 12 months from 19th November 2020.
IMPLICATION FOR DOMESTIC EMPLOYERS
This ruling means that all employers of domestic employees are obliged to register as employers with the Compensation Fund and submit the necessary returns as obliged. All employers of domestic workers are therefore encouraged to register with the Compensation Fund without delay.
- Industry Classification In terms of the Compensation Fund’s Classification of Industries, domestic employers would be classified under Class XIX Personal Services, subclass 1910 at an assessment rate of 0.81.
- In terms of the new classification model to be introduced effective 1 March 2021, domestic employers will fall under its own class, Class M, subclass 2500 at an assessment rate of 1.04 for the 2021 year onwards.