This bulletin was authored by Fasken associate Owethu Mbambo and reviewed by partner Melanie Hart.
The Compensation Commissioner has issued the Notice on Compensation for Occupationally-Acquired Novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) to clarify the position of the Compensation Fund with regards to occupationally-acquired Covid-19. The notice comes into effect immediately.
The notice applies only to COVID-19 acquired by employees arising out of and in the course of the employees’ employment through exposure to confirmed cases in the workplace or after an official work trip to a high risk country or area.
To qualify for benefits from the Compensation Fund, the following criteria must be met:
- the diagnosis must be as a result of occupational exposure to a known source of Covid-19;
- the Covid-19 must be diagnosed as per the World Health Organisation guidelines;
- the Covid-19 diagnosis must be linked to an approved official trip and travel history to high risk areas or countries on a work assignment or linked to a presumed high-risk work environment where transmission of Covid-19 is inherently prevalent; and
- a chronological sequence must exist between the work exposure and the development of Covid-19 symptoms.
The Compensation Fund will compensate qualifying employees who are temporarily disabled from working as a result of Covid-19 for a period of up to 30 days from the date of diagnosis.
The Compensation Fund will not pay for cases that have not been diagnosed and where self-quarantine is recommended by a registered Medical Practitioner, the employer is liable for the employee’s remuneration for the days of absence.
Where an employee has been diagnosed with Covid-19, such employee will be provided with medical aid for a period of up to 30 days from the date of diagnosis.
If an employee dies as a result of complications from Covid-19, the Compensation Fund shall pay out reasonable burial expenses and widow and dependent’s pensions, where applicable.
In essence, the notice confirms that Covid-19 cases which arise out of and in the course of an employee’s employment will be regarded as occupational diseases for purposes of COIDA.