YOU and COIDA

Writers: Sarah Burns & Chris Carlisle. Contributor: Lauren Nott.

Published in 2000 by the Black Sash, 12 Plein Street, Cape Town 8001


A. What is COIDA?
COIDA is the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease
This is the new name for WCA or Workmen's Compensation Act.

IF YOU ARE INJURED AT WORK, OR SICK AS A RESULT OF YOUR WORK
B. Who can claim compensation ?
  1. Anyone, except a domestic worker in a private home, who is employed under a contract of service and receives wages may claim compensation from the Compensation Office. Dependants of a worker who is fatally injured can also claim compensation. Casual workers' rights are exactly the same as full-time workers' rights. Domestic workers may be included soon.
C. What you must do when you are injured
  1. Report your injury /accident or disease at once to your employer or supervisor. Your employer is legally responsible for reporting your injury-on-duty, and for sending the necessary forms and documents to the Compensation Office. The Compensation Office will give you a claim number .This is important for you to have when dealing with the Compensation Office.
  2. When you go to hospital or a doctor, you must take a form (W.Cl.2- PART B, employer's report of an accident) with you. This form is important as it contains your full names, all the correct information about your employer, and how you were injured. It also shows that you were injured at work so that you will not have to pay any money to the hospital or doctor. .
  3. When the doctor gives you your first and then your final (last) medical reports, you must give them to your employer who will send them to the Compensation Office. The First Medical Report (W.Cl.4) is important to the tion cla Compensation Office because the doctor has given a detailed clinical description of your injury. The Final Medical Report is also important because in it the doctor will say when you are fit to go back to work. You will be paid from the date of your accident until you are fit for work. The Compensation Office will not work on your compensation claim until they receive a copy of this report.
  4. Keep in touch with your employer and make sure that he/ she can contact you. If you change your address, tell your employer at once. This is because your compensation money, if any, will be sent to your employer's address. Keeping in contact with your employer is very important.
  5. If your employer does not co-operate or help you, or if you think your accident has not been reported to the Compensation Office, or if it is taking too long, go to the local Department of Labour and report this. Or you can go to a Black Sash Advice Office or to your local community advice centre. Be sure to have your claim number with you.

D. Compensation you can expect
Compensation is money paid by the Compensation Office to workers who are injured-on-duty to replace LOSS OF WAGES and /or to pay MEDICAL EXPENSES.

If you are off work for less than four days you will not receive compensation for loss of wages. Medical expenses will be paid if the claim is reported and accepted.

For the first three months you are not at work your employer must pay you 75% of your wages or salary. The employer will claim this back from the Compensation Office.

If you are off work for more than three months the money must be claimed directly from the Compensation Office when your employer stops paying you.

If the doctor says you have a Temporary Disbility (an injury that gets better, such as a broken leg or a cut) you will only get 75% of your salary for the time you are "unfit-for-duty". You will not get any more money for your injury, as no payment can be made for pain and suffering.

If you have a Permanent Injury ( such as deafness, blindness, amputation of a limb, or an injury that permanently disables you for the rest of your life ), it will be assessed according to the percentage disability laid down in COIDA. If your disability is 30% or less, you will be paid a lump sum, which is a once-off payment for your injury.

If your disability is assessed at more than 30%, you will get an amount which is the arrear payment from the date of stabilisation of your condition which is reflected on the Final Medical Report, and you will also get a monthly pension for life. The amount of this pension is worked out from your salary at the time of the accident, your percentage of disability, and benefits applicable at the time of the accident.

When a Fatal Injury occurs and the worker is killed or dies as a result of the injury, his or her dependants (widow or widower) will get a pension for life. Allowances for up to three children (under the age of 18) will be included as part of the parent/ guardian's pension. This will stop when the children reach 18 years, unless they are still at school or university or technikon.

The Compensation Office requires many forms to be filled in for these pensions and you will have to supply certified copies of the following:
  1. Death certificate of the late worker (indicating the cause of death).
  2. Marriage certificate.
  3. Birth certificates or sworn statements about the age of the widow, widower and children. If you cannot supply a birth certificate, a baptismal certificate will do.
  4. A completed Claim for Compensation form (W.Cl.3).
  5. A statement by the widow/ widower of the deceased (W.Cl.32).
  6. A detailed burial account and, if it has been paid, a receipt.
  7. A letter from the school principal stating that the children are still at school.
Photostat copies can be certified at any police station. Take the original document and the photostat copy with you.
For further information on pensions for dependants, read the booklet guide to dependants, W.Cl.23. Notes: Note 1 It is advisable to get help from the Department of Labour if your employer does not follow up your claim satisfactorily. Many documents and reports are needed and contact with the Compensation Office in Pretoria is often difficult. It takes the Compensation Office a long time to deal with your claim and the letters, faxes or phone calls are expensive. Note 2 It is a good idea to open a savings account or current account with a reliable bank if you do not have one and you are expecting any cheques. If you have difficulty opening a bank account you should explain your circumstances directly to the bank manager. You should also explore options with different banks. Inform your employer and the Compensation Office of your account number, the type of account ("savings" or "current") and name, address and branch code of your bank. The Compensation Office can pay your pension directly into your account. This is quicker and safer. Cheques sent care of a school or store often get lost on the way. Note 3 Once you receive a pension every month from the Compensation Office you must fill in a form every year. This form (W.AC.22) tells the Compensation Office that you are still alive. You must also send them a certified copy of the front page of your identity document. Your community advice centre, or Black Sash office, will help you to do this. Note 4 If unnecessary delays occur, you could use the Just Administrative Action clause 33 in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. This section of the Constitution gives people the right to ask for written reasons for any administrative action. People can ask questions about why they have not received compensation, or how the compensation was calculated. The officials must answers these questions. You can also go directly to the Public Protector. Address: Private Bag X677, Pretoria 0001. Phone: (012) 322 2916, Fax: (012) 322 5093.
The Constitution includes a Bill of Rights - one of the principles is that by developing individuals, so civil society is developed. The Black Sash believes the provision of safety and security enhances this to result in a stable society where all people have access to and can claim their rights.

Writers: Sarah Burns & Chris Carlisle. Contributor: Lauren Nott. Published in 2000 by the Black Sash, 12 Plein Street, Cape Town 8001 Phone (021) 461 7804, Fax (021) 461 8004, e-mail