89% of medical workers filing Covid-19 compensation claims are women

The Department of Employment and Labour has received ?212 Covid-19-related compensation claims.

The Department of Employment and Labour is increasingly playing a critical role not only in the compensation of those who may find themselves becoming ill at work because of Covid-19. To date, the Compensation Fund has seen 212 Covid-19 related claims with females accounting for 89 percent of claimants.  According to Compensation Fund commissioner Vuyo Mafata, most of those affected are nurses in the private sector. 

"When we say we have accepted the claim as a valid occupational injury or disease, it means we accept responsibility for the costs related to the claim (medical aid costs and disability costs). When it is repudiated, it means we have not accepted the claim as a valid occupational injury or disease and we will not take responsibility for the costs related to the claim (medical aid costs and disability costs),” says the commissioner in a recent media statement.

"Sometimes we do not accept liability which means we have repudiated a claim but may still reconsider it if additional information is submitted to support the claim.”

The largest number of claims has come from KwaZulu-Natal where 76 claims have been registered. The Fund has accepted liability of 67 of those claims while two have been repudiated while seven are awaiting adjudication. The Western Cape is the second biggest applicant with 75 claims with 41 of those accepted and 34 awaiting adjudication. Gauteng received 30 claims and half of those have been accepted, four repudiated and 11 are awaiting arbitration while the Eastern Cape has registered 28 cases of which 26 have been accepted, one has been repudiated and another awaits arbitration. Two claims have been registered from Limpopo with one accepted and the other repudiated. Meanwhile, Mpumalanga has one had only one case which has been accepted.

A further 42 claims have been lodged through the Mutual Association of which one has been accepted, seven repudiated and 34 are pending adjudication.

The department, which has responsibility to a large swathe of worker-related issues including compensation for injury or disease contracted on duty; workplace inspections for health and safety; unemployment insurance; the conciliation, mediation and arbitration of workplace conflicts and productivity finds itself at the centre of government’s response to the ill-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.