The Ministry of Local Government has expressed concern over delays in workers’ compensation by employers.
This is despite that in 2012 workman’s compensation was decentralized to speed up the payment process.
Speaking at the workers’ compensation Pitso this week, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu said government’s turnaround time for payment of workers’ compensation is 14 days while 30 days is for the private sector.
He said a lot of ministries and government department pay a well over a month while in the private sector some claims get paid even after one or two years.
“The effect of decentralization is yet to be felt and surely this is a cause of concern. We often encounter challenges ranging from employers failing to ensure workers to workers who do not notify their employers when they are injured. He said some employers do not report occupational diseases, injuries or deaths to the commissioner of workers’ compensation within seventeen days period and medical not being acknowledgeable enough on workers’ compensation issues. Thus allotting incorrect degrees of incapacity of workers,” said the minister.
Batshu further expressed concern over unscrupulous medical doctors who present fraudulent allotments to either of the parties in order to cheat the system in favour of whoever is represented by the doctor at the time.
The minister challenged delegates at the meeting to develop a common understanding of the provision of the workers’ compensation act and clarify the role of each stakeholder.
He noted that there is need to sensitize stakeholders on the importance of timely payment of workers compensation claims, as well as coming up with ways of improving the turnaround time of payment.
The minister said, “We also need to find ways of reducing occupational injuries and deaths because our statistics indicate that the numbers of reported workers’ compensation cases are relatively high. In 2011, 1173 work related injuries were reported, in 2012, 1251 injuries were reported while in 2013 a total of 1127 were reported.”
It has also come out at the same Pitso that though the Workers’ Compensation Act makes it mandatory for every employer to ensure their workers, the ministry of Labour and Home Affairs continues to find employers who have not taken out Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their workers.
The Ministry has since issued a warning against employers who practice such offences, that they should stop forthwith or suffer the punishment that comes in terms of the act.
“My ministry will carry out labour inspection to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act. Any employer who fails to comply with the law will be penalized,” he reminded.