EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION ACT DESIGNED TO ADDRESS INSECURITY
By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, has said that Employee Compensation Act, ECA, which is under its management, is to address all issues relating to workers' insecurity, safety and anxiety.
Acting Managing Director of the fund, Alhaji, Umar Munir Abubakar, said in Lagos that the primary objective of the scheme is the protection of citizens against problems associated with disruptions and changes in their income situation which could expose them to poverty, suffering and indignity.
According to him: ' The Act which replaced the former Workman Compensation Act was signed in December 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan after being passed by the National Assembly. It makes provisions for adequate and timely compensation of employees in both public and private sectors of the economiy who suffer any form of accidents in the course of carrying out his/her official assignment.
The Employees' Compensation Act, 2010 repeals the Workmen's Compensation Act, 2004. The Act which came into effect from 17th Day of December, 2010 is being managed by the Board of NSITF who has been given the mandate to implement the Act and manage the scheme and prescribe how money in the Fund shall be applied.
The Board is also empowered to make rules of procedure for making claims under the Act. These would be made via Regulations which would simplify the claims procedures amongst other processes.
The ECA empowers the board of NSITF to prepare annual estimates of its income and expenditure for the year, cause its account to be audited in accordance with guidelines supplied by the Auditor-General of the Federation. It also requires the Board to prepare and circulate its annual reports to the Minister of Labour, all the social partners and the National Assembly.
Compensation is also payable for injury sustained as a result of accident while commuting to and from place of work and:-the employee's principal or secondary residence, the place where the employee usually takes meals, or the place where the employee usually receives remuneration, provided the employer has prior notification of such place.'
'The Act requires that compensation is payable on the first working day following the injury while medical benefit is payable from the day the injury occurred. Other provisions include; Presumption that injury or disease caused by accident or arose out of employment, unless the contrary is shown.
There is compensation for mental stress (not resulting from injury) medical experts to determine such cause of and extent of such stress. Compensation is also available for occupational diseases - The list of occupational diseases listed in the first schedule to the Act, is relevant, but not exhaustive.
Compensation is also payable for injuries occurring outside the normal work place subject to certain conditions prescribed under the Act. Compensation is in lieu of any right of action, statutory or otherwise founded on breach of duty of care or any other cause of action.
Compensation cannot be waived - any agreement between the employer and employee to that effect is unlawful, void and unenforceable. Compensation not assignable or liable to be attached under any circumstance. Employer not allowed to deduct (directly or indirectly) from the employees remuneration. In addition to payment of compensation, the Board is mandated to offer vocational, rehabilitation and counselling services to an injured employee with a view to getting such employee back to work or lessening or removing the resulting disability.
Every employer is required to pay into the Fund one (1) percent of the total monthly pay roll within the first two (2) years of the commencement of the Act. The Board empowered to categorise risks factors of each class or sub-class of industry or workplace and the amount of contributions to be paid into the Fund.'