Neelam Rahim | firstname.lastname@example.org
17 August 2023 | 19:44 CAT
There is good news for domestic workers, including chauffeurs and gardeners, who can now claim for injuries or if they contracted a disease at work from the Compensation Fund. This follows a recent amendment to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, no. 130, that allows them to claim benefits going as far back as 1994. The government is urging domestic workers to apply directly to the Compensation Fund.
In a statement last week, Department of Labour deputy director Jan Madiega encouraged qualifying domestic workers, including chauffeurs and gardeners, to apply directly to the Compensation Fund.
The fund pays compensation to permanent and casual workers, trainees and apprentices who are injured or contract a disease during work and lose income.
Families of deceased domestic workers, who have died from occupational injury or disease since 27 April 1994, are also entitled to compensation, Madiega said.
According to the act, employers must register their private domestic workers with the Compensation Fund and submit a declaration of the annual earnings of the domestic worker via a Return of Earnings (ROE).
ROEs are calculated based on how much the domestic worker or employee earns per year and includes any compensation for the worker’s overtime, bonuses, and the cash value of any benefits given to the domestic worker, such as free accommodation or reduced rates.
Cape Labour consultant Bernard Reisner said the amendment came into law in April this year and applies to domestic workers, including chauffeurs and gardeners.
Reisner said employers need to pay an annual fee to the Compensation Fund – calculated on the average earnings of the domestic worker – and must register their domestic worker for the fund within seven days of employment.
“I would encourage employers to register their domestic workers and pay the fee. Failure to do so would mean they become liable for penalties and fees,” he said.
According to Reisner, only some businesses and homes have registered domestic workers.
“I would say that 0.05% of businesses and people registered domestic workers. Not many people know about the law, and I would encourage the Department of Employment and Labour to educate people about it,” he said.
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