In keeping with our March theme of human rights, today's touch-point is the subject of an employee’s right to compensation, should he/she suffer and/or sustain an injury or disease in the workplace.
In terms of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, an employer is required to bring about and maintain as far as reasonably practicable an environment that is safe and without risk to the health of workers.
The responsibility does however lie with both parties to identify dangers and develop control measures to make the workplace safe. (attached for ease of reference, a booklet issued by Department of Labor on “What every worker and employer should know about health and safety in the workplace”)
Unfortunately, from time-to-time accidents in the workplace do happen. This may be due to a lack of health and safety controls, negligence on the part of the employee or employer, failure to comply with standard work instruction or an act out of the control of both the employee and employer.
An employer is responsible for all persons whom it employs in a workplace. If an employee is injured or killed on duty or whilst performing work-related activities. The employee may be entitled to the following rights which are not limited to:
The right to full and free medical attention, including free transport to a medical center for treatment.
Compensation for loss of income due to workplace injury or diseases (or temporary disablement).
Compensation for permanent loss of normal bodily functions following an injury on duty or a disease contracted due to exposure to hazardous chemical substances or biological agents.
Benefits can also be payable to family members where the employee was deceased due to injury on duty or disease contracted at work.
Increased compensation should the cause of the injury on duty be due to the negligence of the employer or a fellow employee.
Compensation can also be payable if the injury on duty or disease was caused by a third party but arose during the normal working hours of an employee.
It is to this end that the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) was brought into operation. The main objective of COIDA is to facilitate a process which provides for payment of medical treatment and compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries and diseases sustained by employees in the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
To demonstrate compliance with this Act, the following controls need to be in place:
All employers must register with the Compensation Commission.
COIDA annual assessments must be paid based on employees’ aggregate earnings, subject to threshold.
The Department of Employment and Labor, on behalf of the Compensation Fund, recently announced an extension of the deadline for the Return of Earnings (ROE) submissions. The new deadline date is now Monday, 31 May 2021.
“Remember, by taking action today, you can prevent a crisis tomorrow.”
Information pertaining to the COIDA Amendment Bill will be included in one of our future Touchpoints. Considering some of the proposals that have already been put forward, when the Bill gets gazetted many employers will have to review and/or amend their disciplinary procedures to align them with the Bill.
Kindly note that this article was compiled for information purposes only and as such, you may need to seek further accounting and legal expertise when required.
Tiffany Reed: HR & EE Consultant - Compliance Hub