Compensation FAQ

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What is the role of the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB)?

This is a social security scheme constituted under the Workers’ Compensation Act No. 10 of 1999 of the Laws of Zambia. It is a social insurance scheme to which employers in the public and private sector, except the State, make payments, otherwise known as assessments.

Its main objective is to compensate workers for disabilities suffered or diseases contracted during the course of employment.

What are some of its other objectives? 

WCFCB also provides for payment of compensation to dependants of workers who die as a result of accidents or occupational related diseases.

The Workers Act also provides for the investment of any surplus funds to generate additional income to ensure growth of the fund and meet any contingent liabilities. 

Is it the sole obligation of the employer to contribute to the WCFCB?

Yes, only the employer makes a yearly contribution known as an assessment payment. The payments are not uniform across all employers, they are determined by the degree of risk associated with a particular activity and they range from 2.82% to 6.93% of K9.6 million per employee per year. The highest risk is in the mining industry while the lowest is in personal services and financial industries. 

What happens to payments in the event that the employee retires without sustaining injuries?

When an employee retires normally, without experiencing injury or disease attributable to his or her occupation, they do not access compensation benefits. 

Instead, the monies ‘assessments’ paid by his or her employer are pooled together with other premiums from other employers for administration of new claims from other employers; investments to meet future liabilities; servicing of pension benefits, and general administration costs.

How does the organisation compensate the injured or one who suffers disabilities (does the board take responsibility over medical expenses)?

The Board compensates workers disabled by occupational accidents or diseases through cash and non cash benefits. The cash benefits are paid monthly for beneficiaries (disabled at more than 10% degree as determined by a Medical Assessment Board) on life pension through Zanaco Xapit Banking Facility, Zampost offices across the country and local branch offices of the Board in nineteen districts. 

Are foreign nationals/ expatriates staff working in Zambia covered under this scheme? 

For beneficiaries who have relocated to their countries of origin (expatriate workers), the Board remits cash benefits through Crown Agents of United Kingdom, Malawi Posts Corporation and bank drafts through Commercial Banks. For disabilities below 10% degree, the Board pays lumpsum benefits.

Besides payment of cash benefits, what other services does WCFCB offer?

In addition to cash benefits, the Board provides nursing care services to highly disabled beneficiaries (mostly bed ridden) through regular distribution of medical items such as urinal bags etc; mobility aid through distribution of wheel chairs, crutches etc and facilitating regular periodical medical examination for beneficiaries with Pneumoconiosis (an incurable lung disease caused by inhalation of fine (silica) dust particles in the mining industry) and TB at the Occupational Health Management Board in Kitwe.

Note: The Board reimburses employers all medical bills incurred as a result of treatment and/ or hospitalisation of workers disabled by occupational accidents and diseases provided such expense is reasonably and necessarily incurred.

What happens to companies that fail to make payments to the Board?

Periodical payments due to the employer resulting from an accident claim are withheld and (b) they are prosecuted through the courts of Law to recover the amounts due.

What impact does non-compliance of payments have on employees? 

The Board proceeds to compensate workers in line with the Act as Workers have a right to compensation which cannot be deprived despite non compliance by their employer. Only in such circumstances, the Board certainly prosecutes the employer.

What rights does the employer or employee have in regards to workers compensation?

The employer has the right to protection against civil claims which may be instituted against them in the event of a worker getting injured in the course of employment except where negligence, breach of duty or other wrongful act or omission of the worker for whose act or default the employer is responsible.

The employer has the right to seek the Board’s guidance on establishment and maintenance of good health and safety standards and practices in their working environment as the Board provides a free service on accident prevention to employers.

Workers have a basic right to protection against employment injury or disease under the Workers’ Compensation Scheme. 

Workers have the right to report to the Board non compliant employers, who by circumventing the law, imply depriving them of the right to compensation.

Are compensations restricted to those injuries sustained at the workplace?  

Other than those occurring at work places, there is what is known as commuting accidents; these occur whilst on a direct route to the place of work or from the place of work to one’s residence with reasonable dispatch.

How can the injured employee access this compensation?

The employer of the injured or diseased employee is supposed to report an incidence of accident or disease within three days of gaining knowledge to the Board for processing of claims for compensation. Where an employer has not reported, the employee can report to the Board for the Board to take up the matter with the concerned employee.

How long does it take for the compensation to be processed?

While it is the intention of the WCFCB to ensure that employees receive their benefits within four weeks, the Board experiences problems with some employers who take long to report accidents thereby delaying benefits. In some cases delays have run to several months.

However, a service charter is being drawn to commit to settlement of claims in one month.

What is the format for the calculation of benefits to injured employees? 

Compensation benefits are paid for loss of earning capacity, and according to the Workers’ Compensation Act the maximum earning capacity of workers is K800, 000 per month or K9.6 million per year. The Act prescribes 50% of earning capacity by degree of disablement as a basis informing calculation of benefits.

On average, how many disease and disability cases are recorded annually and how much money is paid out to workers?

The Board receives an average of 1200 accident and disease reports and pension payable is capitalized to the tune of K18 billion. The figure is a reflection of pension capitalized in the 2010/11 financial year.

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