The main objective of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act (COID Act) 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.
For the purpose of this letter we will focus on the payments that should be made by the employer to the injured employee. If an employee is injured on duty and is sent to the medical practitioner or hospital, one of the following three payment criteria comes into operation:
Payment criteria one:
Section 22(2) stipulates that no ‘‘periodical payments’’ shall be made in respect of temporary total disablement or temporary partial disablement which lasts for 3 days or less. In other words when an employee is booked off due to an injury on duty (IOD) for 3 days or less, the Compensation Fund does not pay compensation.
The commissioner’s offices would simply not be able to deal with all these minor cases; this is mainly why ‘‘periodical payments’’ are not made. This means that the employer may also not make periodical payments to the employee for IOD’s of 3 days or less.
The worker should not be worse off and it is also important to note that it is illegal to pay for IOD’s from sick leave. In cases like this IOD leave or special leave normally applies. The W.Cl 4 (first medical report) could be used by the employer to book the worker off.
Payment criteria two:
Section 47(1) of COIDA stipulates that compensation for temporary total disablement must be calculated on the basis set out in Item 1 of Schedule 4.
If the employee is booked off due to an IOD for 4 days or longer, but less than 3 months, the employer must pay the injured employee at a rate of at least 75% of his earnings, from the first day, until the employee returns to work.
Please note that earnings are not only the basic salary of the worker. The earnings of the worker must be the remuneration that he or she receives from the employer including the following:
* the value of any food or quarters or both supplied by the employer;
* any overtime payment or other special remuneration in cash or in kind of regular nature or for work ordinarily performed;
* any other remuneration in cash or in kind to an employee by virtue of his/her contract of service, including commission, cost of living allowance, and incentive or other bonuses.
It does however exclude:
* payment for intermittent overtime;
* payment for non-recurrent occasional; services;
* amounts paid by an employer to an employee to cover any special expenses;
* exgratia payment whether by the employer or any other person;
* travelling and subsistence allowances.
Payment criteria three:
If the employee is booked off due to an IOD for a period longer than 3 months, the employer pays the injured employee at a rate of least 75% of the workers earnings, for the first 3 months.
Once the 3 month period expires, the injured employee must claim his money from the Compensation Fund.
If there is any uncertainty relating to an IOD, complete and submit the forms to the Commissioner and let them decide. The COIDA works on the proviso of “at the discretion of the Compensation Commissioner”.
Written by Tinus Boshoff at the South African Labour Guide
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