COLUMN: Michael Bagraim writes that following the ConCourt ruling domestic employees will now be entitled to compensation in the event that they are injured or contract diseases while on duty.
by Michael Bagraim
Domestic workers are now able, through their employers, to register for the Compensation Fund.
On March 10, a Government Gazette declared that the registration of domestic worker employers in terms of Section 80 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act is open.
This follows on from the Constitutional Court ruling in November 2020 where the court said that the exclusion of domestic workers was invalid and that they must be registered with retrospective effect to April 1994.
The legislation means that domestic employees will now be entitled to compensation in the event that they are injured or contract diseases while on duty.
In essence, any individual who works in a household as an employee as per the above mentioned decision has to be registered both with the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund.
There are various types of benefits paid in terms of the legislation. This is outlined and updated annually by the Compensation Fund and is accessible on www.gpw.gov.za or www.labour. gov.za
The fund will pay for temporary total disablement, permanent disablement and a permanent disablement pension.
Should an employee die as a result of an injury on duty or occupational disease while that person was in employ, the dependants of that deceased employee are entitled to various benefits which are outlined in terms of the Government Gazette.
There is also a widow’s lump sum award and a widow’s pension award. In certain circumstances, there is a child pension award and a partial dependency award. It is extremely useful to understand that there are bursaries for youth and there is a return-to- work programme.
The fund under specialised circumstances will pay for assisted devices and will help with the rehabilitation and reintegration into the workplace.
There are numerous medical benefits that will be paid to qualifying claimants. The Compensation Fund will process reasonable medical expenses to medical service providers and institutions that have treated the employee.
Over and above this, chronic medication will be considered where an employee has contracted an occupational disease or injury that requires that medication.
In essence, all employers of domestic employees are obliged to register as employers with the Compensation Fund and are obliged to submit the necessary returns to the Department of Employment and Labour.
There is a call from the Commissioner for all employers of domestic workers to register with the Compensation Fund without any delay.
The employer is obliged to follow guidelines for the registration and to complete certain documents with a copy of the employment contract and a copy of the ID or passport or work permit.
There must be proof of the employer’s address and a copy of the identification of the employer.
These registration documents can be submitted on line by using the online platform as referred to above. If the employer has already registered on a previous occasion then there is no need to re-register.
Claims for occupational injuries and diseases should be submitted to the Compensation Fund either manually or through the use of the online platform.
The Department of Labour has 126 labour centres that are all available and should all be open for such claims. The online submissions can be accessed at https:/compeasy.labour.gov.za:44328/ fiori
Should anyone want copies of the various forms that are required to be filled in, I am able to email those documents to anyone who emails me requesting the same.
* Michael Bagraim is a labour lawyer. He can be contacted at [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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