Author: Imraan Mahomed – Director & Member of the Management Board, Employment Practice Group Leader, Johannesburg and Jean Ewang – Director
On 20 March 2020, the Compensation Commissioner issued a Notice of Compensation for Occupationally Acquired Novel Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19). The aim of the Notice is to clarify the position of the Compensation Fund with regards to compensation of employees for claims for contracting Covid-19 in the workplace.
Occupationally Acquired Covid-19 is defined in the Notice as a disease contracted by an employee in the course and scope of their employment. The Notice deals with employees who contract Covid-19 after single or multiple exposures to confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the workplace or after an official trip to a high-risk area. This article should be read with the piece published by Lawtons Africa on 11 March 2020 called: Coronavirus – why South African employers have a common law duty to care.
The Notice stipulates certain criteria for a valid diagnosis of Occupationally Acquired Covid-19 to be made, this includes a chronological sequence between the work exposure and the development of the symptoms.
The Compensation Fund shall make payment for temporary total disablement resulting from Covid-19 for a period not exceeding 30 days. The same shall apply for confirmed cases of Covid-19 where the Fund has accepted liability. In all accepted cases of Covid-19, medical aid will be provided for a period of 30 days, this may be extended to beyond 30 day if the Director General is of the opinion that it will reduce the extent of disablement.
Where a registered medical practitioner has recommended self-quarantine, the employer will be liable for remuneration for the days the employee is absent. This is subject to the medical practitioner having recommended the quarantine in accordance with the applicable guidelines.
The Notice came into effect on 20 March 2020.
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