|Compensation scheme cushions employees|
|Monday, 24 October 2011 22:00|
The scheme is employer-funded insurance that provides financial relief to employees and their families when an employee is injured or killed in a work-related accident, suffers from a work-related disease or dies from such a disease.
All employers, except for the government, informal sector employers and domestic workers are required by law to contribute to the scheme.
When an employer commences business he or she is required to go to the nearest NSSA office to complete registration forms indicating estimated earnings of his or her employees.
The minimum insurance premium the employer is required to pay will be calculated using a risk factor related to the line of business the company is involved in.
The premium is calculated as a percentage of gross employee earnings.
The insurance year runs from January 1 to December 31 every year. The percentage may vary from year to year.
Employers have a responsibility to keep NSSA informed of any changes or developments in their business.
This allows NSSA to maintain accurate records as well as adjust insurance premiums.
Short-term benefits that can be realised under the Accident Prevention and Worker's Compensation Scheme include periodic payments in respect of loss of earnings when income has been lost or stopped by work-related accidents.
The normal monthly wage is guaranteed for the first 30 days following an accident.
Thereafter a percentage of the normal monthly wage is paid.
NSSA pays all medical bills arising from the accident, including transport charges, the cost of medicines and hospital fees, using the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe rates.
Where an employee's injury results in a permanent disability assessed as being more than 30 percent disability, the compensation takes the form of a pension.
If the disability is permanent but assessed at less than 30 percent, a lump sum is paid as compensation.
Children's allowances are included in the employee pension for children up to the age of 19.
NSSA provides constant attendants to assist paraplegics, quadraplegics and other seriously disabled workers whose disability is due to a work-related accident.
In the event of a member of the scheme passing away as a result of a work-related accident, a grant is paid towards funeral expenses.
The employee's widow or widower receives two-thirds of the pension that would have been due to the employee if he or she had survived the accident.
If the employee had more than one wife, the money is shared equally among them. The children will also receive their allowances.
If the surviving spouse remarries, he or she is given a lump-sum equivalent to 24 months pension.
The pension is then terminated. The children's allowances remain the same.
If a single person dies as a result of a work-related accident, an allowance is paid to any dependants he or she may have, such as parents or sisters or brothers.
However, the dependence on the deceased person must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
NSSA offers rehabilitation services to injured employees at a fully equipped rehabilitation centre in Bulawayo.
The centre also offers vocational training in carpentry, leather craft, poultry and market gardening, metalwork and tailoring.
This rehabilitation services are intended to help employees return to their jobs as soon as possible or, if they are unable to do so, engage in a self-supporting income generating venture, so that they can continue with their lives as employable or self-supporting members of society.
Employers also benefit from the scheme, since, in the event of an insured person being injured or disabled in a work-related accident, NSSA provides the employee's income and allowances and helps rehabilitate him and her to facilitate a speedy return to work.
If the employee dies in the accident, the scheme provides compensation for the surviving spouse and children under the age of 19.
If the employer incurs expenses in providing facilities to assist a disabled employee to return to work, NSSA will reimburse the employer.
All costs arising from a work-related accident, such as time lost, medical costs and medical appliances, are met by the authority.
If an employee is injured in a work-related accident, the employer must immediately provide first aid and promptly transfer him or her to the nearest medical centre.
The employer must then report the accident to the nearest NSSA office, filling in the relevant details on form WCIF 14. Copies of the form should always be kept at work premises.
The employer should report serious or fatal accidents to the nearest NSSA office and the police within 24 hours.
All accidents should be reported within 14 days, irrespective of whether or not the employee has finished treatment.
In addition to compensating those injured at work, NSSA organises workshops and conducts factory inspections to promote health and safety at work and minimise the likelihood of work-related accidents.
l The Talking Social Security Column is published each week by the National Social Security Authority as a public service. Readers who have any questions they would like dealt with in this column are welcome to e-mail their questions to email@example.com or send an SMS to 0772 469 801. Those who have specific questions should contact their local NSSA office or telephone NSSA on (04) 706517-8 or 706523-5).