When it comes to compensation for occupational injuries and diseases, businesses are required to ensure they are up to date with the latest legislation and procedures.
But while the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) has mainly focused on various industries in the workforce, the time has finally come for domestic workers to benefit from COIDA.
This follows trade unions welcoming a decision to include domestic workers at private households in compensation for occupational injuries and diseases.
Proposed amendments to COIDA, will now include the extension of coverage to domestic workers. This extension stems from the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill calling for a change to the definition of “employee”, which previously excluded domestic employees.
Senior Legal Officer at the Department of Employment and Labour, Harry Mapholgela, recently told GroundUp, government officials have completely overhauled COIDA. As a member of the team which worked on the Bill, he said the exclusion of domestic workers from COIDA needed to be addressed immediately.
Additionally, the general secretary of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU), Myrtle Witbooi stated, this change was long overdue.
While households now need to make the necessary adjustments in their domestic workers’ employment contracts, this amendment has been in the making for years.
A point which Pinky Mashiane, president of the United Domestic Workers of South Africa (UDWOSA) points out by stressing, unions have been requesting this change for several years already.
Furthermore, Witbooi claims SADSAWU also wants the Bill backdated to include domestic workers who lost their jobs due to being injured at work.
Adding, the Bill also proposes the introduction of rehabilitation, reintegration and return to work measures. This is being done to address the issue of employers dismissing employees due to occupational injuries or diseases.
These measures, according to Mashiane, are also long overdue.
The amendment Bill also proposes the cost of independent medical reports, can be refunded to employees by the Compensation Commissioner.
This change will prove to be beneficial to domestic workers when undergoing medical treatment and assessments following an injury.
For Parliament and President Cyril Ramaphosa to endorse the Bill, both unionists claim domestic workers will intensify their campaign to ensure the Bill is passed.
What are your thoughts on the proposed amendment? Do you feel unions are justified in seeing domestic workers benefiting from the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act?
Share your views with us in the comment section below.
Author: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer