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How Workers' Compensation Work

CORRESPONDENT
Botswana Insurance Company is asking companies, especially SMMEs if they have the financial means to pay their employees or their dependants; if a death or injury happened at the workplace whilst they were on duty? Have you considered the negative financial loss and costs associated with an employee being injured, permanently disabled or even fatally injured and what are you doing to reduce this risk?

Dependant on an employee’s earnings, a worse case scenario could see you paying up to P250,000 for a permanent disability, plus up to P75,000 for medical expenses, amounting to a staggering P325,000 per employee! In addition to these costs, you can end up paying more for artificial limbs and transport.

The Workers’ Compensation Act Chapter 47:03 of 1998 covers an employer whose employees suffer personal injury or a specified occupational diseases or for death arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment. You as the employer will be liable to pay compensation in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

As clarification the Act states, “subject to subsections (2) and (3), every employer shall insure and keep himself insured with such insurers as may be approved by the Commissioner in respect of any liability, which he may incur under the Act to any worker employed by him.”

The Act also stipulates specific conditions for a work related claim to be successful as well as under which circumstances a claim for compensation will not fall for consideration. The Department of Labour has a checklist in place to assist in the claims processing requirements.

In the unfortunate event an incident that results in an injury and a potential claim, you must make sure that your

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employee reports it to you as soon as possible, and then you as the employer should notify the Department of Labour within the stipulated time frames stated under the Act. If you are Insured for Workers Compensation that’s a step in the right direction in terms of protecting your most valued assets, your employees, and of course staying on the right side of the Law.

Make sure ALL your employees are covered and ensure your correct annual wage bill has been declared. Some business owners, however, are oblivious to the Workers Compensation Act, yet this cover is mandatory per the laws of Botswana. Penalties will be imposed by The Department of Labour as stated in the Act plus you will still have to pay the compensation due which can be up to millions as there can be more than ten (10) people injured in one accident.

The Workers’ Compensation Act does limit compensation amounts in different eventualities, but to fully protect your company and your employees, you can also purchase either Stated Benefits or Group Personal Accidents (GPA) covers. These covers, pay out benefits for amounts that exceed the Worker’s Compensation Act limits for injury claims only and can be extended to 24 hours a day protection for accidents only.

Tsholofelo Pule

BIC



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