The Department of Employment and Labour has encouraged domestic employees who were injured or contracted occupational diseases while on duty from 27 April 1994 to come forward and claim their benefits.
This follows the corrective legislative measures to amend the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, No 130 of 1993 (COIDA) legislation to include domestic employees.
The corrective legislative measures were undertaken due to the 2020 Constitutional Court order, which declared section 1(xix) (v) of the COIDA invalid, with immediate and retrospective effect to 27 April 1994.
“We are encouraging all our stakeholders to inform their family and friends who might have been injured or contracted occupational diseases from 27 April 1994 to come forth and claim for their benefits.
“We are encouraging employers to not pre-judge a claim but rather submit it to the [Compensation] Fund so that we can make our own discretion,” Department of Employment and Labour Deputy Director of employer registrations and compliance Jan Madiega said on Thursday.
He was addressing the Compensation Fund Roundtable Stakeholder Engagement session held at Bolivia Lodge in Polokwane, Limpopo.
Right to claim
Madiega said a right to claim in terms of the Act shall lapse if the accident that happened or the disease that commenced on or after 27 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 36 months from the date of signature on the amendment Act 10 of 2022.
All employers of private domestic employees are obliged to register with the Compensation Fund, submit the Return of Earnings (ROE’s) and make payments.
Those who had employees prior to 19 November 2020 will be required to indicate as such, however the Fund will regard their commencement date as 19/11/2020 unless claim liability is accepted for years prior.
“If the person gets injured, and it is found that you are employing an illegal foreign national you will be prosecuted for harbouring an illegal immigrant in your household. However, whether the domestic employee is a foreign national that is immaterial. As an employer, you have a duty to register your domestic employees. The Fund upon receiving a claim will request for relevant documents,” Madiega said.
As per amendments in the COID Act 10 of 2022, failure to register employees, pay and submit the ROE’s within a reasonable period will result in a penalty of 10% of actual or estimated annual earnings.
In addition, an employer who fails to pay a penalty or instalment is liable to a penalty of 10% of actual or estimated annual earnings.
According to Compensation Fund Legal Services, Irish Lephoto, the amended Act gives powers to the Commissioner to appoint inspectors to enforce compliance to the Act.
These inspectors will be provided with a signed certificate confirming that they are inspectors and the certificate shall state which legislation they are monitoring or enforcing.
“The inspectors may enter a home or other workplace with the consent of the owner or occupier. The Labour Court may authorise entry upon the application by the inspector and if practicable, the employer and trade must be notified of the inspection and the reason thereof.
“The changes in the amendment act will affect everyone and change the way we do business. All workers have a right to social security, which is our priority. The inclusion of domestic employees in the Act is very crucial to all of us hence we are taking steps to enforce compliance,” Lephoto said.
The Compensation Fund was established in terms of section 15 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act as amended.
The main objective of the Act is to provide compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases and provide for matters connected therewith.
Source: South African Government News Agency