Claiming compensation for occupational injuries or diseases
If you are involved in an accident at work or develop an illness caused by your working conditions, then you can claim from the Compensation Fund. Here’s what you need to know.
You can claim if:
You cannot claim if you are:
Claims will only be paid if they are submitted in the correct way and on time. Claims will not be paid if:
Who pays into the fund?
Employers pay into the Compensation Fund once a month. You do not pay anything towards the fund. Employers cannot deduct money from your wages as contributions to the fund.
What injuries and diseases are covered?
The fund covers occupational diseases and workplace injuries. The working conditions and diseases caused by these conditions that are covered by the Compensation Fund are set out in Schedule 3 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (130/1993).
You can claim for other diseases if you can prove, using medical evidence and reports, that the disease was caused by conditions at work.
What can you claim?
You cannot claim for pain and suffering, only for loss of movement or use of your body.
The amount of compensation paid to you, depends on how much you were earning when you got injured or diagnosed. If you have stopped working by the time a disease is diagnosed, the compensation will be worked out according to what you would have been earning.
There are five kinds of compensation:
Temporary disability is when you are unable to work or cannot do all your work because of an injury or disease, but you will get better.
To claim, you need to be put off work by a doctor for more than three days. If you are put off work for longer than three days, you will get paid out for the whole time that you are unable to work (including the first three days).
If you cannot work at all, you will get paid out 75% (three-quarters) of your normal monthly or weekly wage.
If you can only do some of your work, you will still get paid some wages by your employer. The fund will pay you 75% (three-quarters) of the difference between what you got paid and what you would have been paid before the injury.
All medical expenses are also paid if the medical accounts are submitted to the Commissioner.
You can claim compensation for temporary disability for one year. This can be extended to two years, after which the Commissioner may decide that the condition is permanent and grant compensation on the basis of permanent disability.
A permanent disability is an injury or illness that you will never recover from, for example, losing an eye. The seriousness of the disability will determine whether you’ll never be able to work again or whether you’ll find work more difficult.
Disabilities are rated from 100% to 1% depending on the seriousness. For example, a 100% would be the loss of both your hands or the loss of your sight. The loss of your small toe is a 1% disability.
Your doctor will write a medical report about the disability. The Commissioner and various other doctors will then decide how serious the disability is.
If the disability is more than a 30% disability, you will get paid a monthly pension. The size of the pension depends on what your wages were and on the seriousness of the disability. If you have a 100% disability you will get paid 75% (three-quarters) of your wages.
If the disability is less serious, the Commissioner will work out the monthly payment.
If the disability is less than a 30% disability, you will get paid a lump sum.
The lump sum payment is a once-off payment. The monthly payment will be paid for the rest of the worker's life.
If the family member that earns money to support the family (breadwinner) was killed by an occupational injury or disease, you can claim from the fund.
The amount of compensation that you will be paid depends on your relationship to the person who died. The total amount paid to the family cannot be more than the pension the dead worker would have received.
The worker's spouse and children under the age of 18 (including illegitimate, adopted and step-children) are entitled to compensation.
If there is no spouse or children, other dependents, like parents, will be paid compensation.
To claim compensation for the death of a family member, you need to provide certified copies of:
All the medical expenses of a worker will be paid for up to two years, from the date of the accident or the diagnosis of the disease. All medical accounts should be submitted to the Commissioner, including fees for transporting an injured employee to a hospital or to their home.
Who pays the claim?
The Compensation Commissioner is appointed to administer the fund and approves your claims. You’ll get money from the fund and not from your employer.
However, the employer has to pay the injured worker for the first three months after the injury was sustained. The Compensation Fund will pay the employer back.
If you’re off for more than three months, the Compensation Commissioner takes over the monthly payments.
If your employer has insurance against workplace injuries then the insurance company will pay the compensation. In these cases, claims are still made to and decided by the Compensation Commissioner.
How do you claim?
All forms that need to be submitted to the Commission can be sent to:
You can contact the Commissioner or any regional office of the Department of Labour for more information and assistance. Forms are available from:
Western Cape Office of the Department of Labour
Who pays the claim?
The Compensation Commissioner is appointed to administer the Fund and approves workers' claims. The worker gets money from the Fund and not from the employer.
BUT the employer has to pay the injured worker for the first 3 months after the injury was sustained. The Compensation Fund will pay the employer back.
If the worker is off for more than 3 months, the Compensation Commissioner takes over the monthly payments.
If the employer has insurance against workplace injuries then the insurance company will pay the compensation. In these cases, claims are still made to and decided by the Compensation Commissioner.
NB: Payment of claims can take a long time to process.
|Government Body:||(The Government of South Africa)|
- Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 (Act) (File type: pdf; size: 114.47 KB)
- Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993 (Act) (File type: pdf; size: 182.58 KB)
- Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act, 61 of 1997 (Act) (File type: pdf; size: 194.11 KB)