Working Together To Protect South Africa’s Employees

Published 3 months ago
Dave H (1)

In July 2022, a notice amendment to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) was introduced into law. It impacts every employer in the country, including those who engage the services of domestic workers and gardeners.

Under an amended notice, the Compensation Fund Commissioner has sought to provide a regulated system of “no fault” compensation for injury or illness as a result of an individual’s occupation, and loss-of-income relief to an individual or their family, as well as claims for ‘reasonable medical expenses’.

It is a criminal offence for anyone who has not registered under COIDA, and, Dave Honeyman, Head of Accidents and Health, SHA (a division of Santam) confirms that “this means that the 46% of South African companies (some 200,000) that have not registered, and likely millions of domestic worker employers, are now subject to a penalty or jail term.

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“Any employer that thinks they can fly under the radar of this act is mistaken. The Department of Labour has recently engaged additional inspectors who will be visiting businesses and homes, to check their registration status.”

Some may be wary of COIDA but Honeyman says they have no reason to be. “It’s good legislation because it addresses the historic unequal position that workers found themselves in when an employer denied them any form of compensation if they became critically ill, were injured or disabled, or died, as a result of their occupation.

Honeyman explains that in these circumstances through COIDA, income is protected up to 75% to a maximum claim of R529,264 per year (approximately $28,000 ). “It is also relatively inexpensive at between 2 and 3% of the employee’s salary. This is a relief for claimants, but it can take up to a year for the claim to be verified.”

“It got us thinking that even if a person was not at a workplace and suffered an accident or injury that caused disability or death, the extended family would still be financially compromised.”

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This is why SHA introduced the Employee Injury Assist policy. “This gap cover will pay within 48 hours on a health or accident event, even if such an event occurs outside of the workplace. It is, however, conditional on being registered with the Compensation Commissioner, which SHA undertakes to do on our client’s behalf,” says Honeyman.

The Employee Injury Assist policy is also far-reaching in its benefits for it bridges the potential one-year COID claim payout time gap, and offers additional benefits, such as facilitating an SHA initiated 24/7 ambulance request, as well as hospital admittance accompanied by COID forms. SHA will also monitor COID claims until the end of the claim process.

SHA has also appointed itself as custodians of COID, undertaking the training of health and safety officers, and brokers. “With our direct involvement, we are seeing a 95% success rate for brokers signing up new policyholders.”

Existing clients can simply add it onto their existing SHA policies, and new clients can apply online via SHA or face-to-face.

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