Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi introduced the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill in parliament on Thursday (10 September).
According to an attached explanatory memorandum, the bill will make a number of amendments to the existing Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases Act – including changes to the existing definition of an ’employee’ to include domestic workers.
As it currently stands the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act states that workers are entitled to claim compensation under specific circumstances – however, this does not cover domestic workers and gardeners.
In seeking compensation, domestic employees are currently only able to claim against the Unemployment Insurance Fund and perhaps make a civil claim against the employer.
The new bill aims to change this by making the Act apply to domestic workers as well.
The bill also wants to introduce regulations to address “the tendency of some employers to dismiss employees on the basis of occupational injuries or diseases,” Nxesi said.
“Chapter VII(A) seeks to introduce the concept of a multi-disciplinary employee-based process of rehabilitation and reintegration of injured employees or employees who contracted occupational diseases,” the explanatory memorandum states.
This means an employer will have to exhaust all rehabilitation and reintegration processes before laying off an employee, Nxesi said.
“Employers will be incentivised for full compliance with the provisions of this chapter by way of rebates on their annual assessments.”
You can read the full bill below.