Thursday, October 12, 2017

Workers compensation body pays long-due entitlements

Workers Compensation Fund director-general

Workers Compensation Fund director-general Masha Mshomba 

By Geofrey Kimani @thecitizenkim1

Mwanza. Workers in both the public and private sectors who were enrolled with the Workers Compensation Fund in Tanzania have just had their claims dating back to 1st July 2015 paid.

However, the compensated workers were those who suffered ‘occupational injuries,’ or contracted ‘occupational diseases’ arising out of – and in the course of – their employment.

The Fund also paid compensation to dependents of workers who died while on duty and funeral grants, as well as other benefits – including medical aid, compensation for permanent or temporary disablement, constant attendant care grant, and rehabilitation services.

WCF director-general Masha Mshomba told reporters in Mwanza on Wednesday that a total of 1,740 employers have already registered their employees with the Fund, which is targeting to have 25,000 employers register their workers in due course.

The D-G was speaking during a 5-day training seminar for over 100 medical personnel based in the Lake Zone administrative regions on the proper assessment of impairment from work-related injuries and diseases.

The health experts were also trained on the concepts and principles of occupational health and safety.

Under the Workers' Compensation Act of 2008, private sector employers who enroll their employers with the Fund currently contribute one (1) per cent of the employees’ wages on a monthly basis, while public sector employers contribute 0.5 per cent.

The Workers’ Compensation Act applies to all employers and employees from both the private and government sector in Mainland-Tanzania, as well as employees who ordinarily work outside Mainland Tanzania – but have been stationed in Tanzania for more than 12 months.

Newly-introduced regulatory procedures provide that, under the Act, all employers are now obliged to make contributions to the fund.  The rates of mandatory contributions differ for public sector and private sector employers.

The head of legal services unit as WCF, Abraham Siyovelwa, noted that the workers contribution rate to the fund is reviewed after every 5 years following an assessment of the fund’s financial capability to pay out as per its statutory obligations.

Projecting payment of benefits is also reviewed.

“The contribution rate – when reviewed – must ensure sustainability of the fund,” legal-eagle Siyovelwa stated.

For example, he explained, contribution rates may be reviewed and set according to the most risk based sectors.