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HR 101 – What to do when . . . You are not sure about Workmen’s Compensation – Part 1

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour and Best Practice Requirements.

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about who must register, where to register, how to register, and when to register, so I thought it would be a good idea to try and demystify it.

So here are the important factors to consider as a Business Owner. Who Must Register With The Workman’s Compensation Fund and How Does One Register?:

As a Business Owner in South Africa, if you employ a staff member (and that includes you – so if the only staff member is you) then you need to be registered. The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Act of 130 of 1993 defines an employer as:
“Any person, including the state, who employs an employee and includes:- Any person controlling the business of the employer;

– If the services of an employee are lent or temporarily made available to some other person by the employer, such employer for such period as the employee works for that employee;
– A Labour Broker who against payment provides a person to a client for the rendering of a service or the performance of work and for which service or work such person is paid by the Labour Broker.”

Well, that is pretty straight forward – so for example, I as N Viljoen Consulting (Pty) Ltd do not have any staff members on the one hand, but ‘pay’ myself a salary on the other hand (to get the best tax benefits), so I will now need to Register for Workman’s Compensation.

The form that is required to be completed is the prescribed (Form WA52 – which can be downloaded from the Department of Labour site) and the employer is required to submit a separate form for each business they have.

What Records Are To Be Kept By the Employer

The Act says that the employer has to keep a register or some form of record of the earnings and particulars of employment. This record must be kept for a period of 4 (four) years.

The Act also says that this record must be kept open for inspection, not only for a representative of the Health & Safety fraternity but also for the Health & Safety Representative who must be elected in terms of the Act or also in terms of the Mine & Health Safety Act 29 of 1996 or for any of the shop stewards or similar Union officials.

Next week we will have a look at when to submit the return of earnings, what an assessment is, and who may be exempt from being assessed.