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$537k Paid Out For Death Cases Under New Amendment: Usamate

The Ministry of Employment has processed and paid out $537,221.92 for 12 death cases under the amended Workmen’s Compensation Act. Responding to questions from Member of Parliament, Brij Lal, the
29 Apr 2017 11:00
$537k Paid Out For Death Cases Under New Amendment: Usamate
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate at Parliament on April 28, 2017. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

The Ministry of Employment has processed and paid out $537,221.92 for 12 death cases under the amended Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Responding to questions from Member of Parliament, Brij Lal, the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Relations Jone Usamate, said this included seven cases from the private sector and five from Government.

The amendment to the Act came in to effect from July 17, 2015, which now entitles injured workers or families of workers who lost their loved ones as a result of workplace accidents to receive compensation up to $50,000 compared to the $24,000 that had been in existence for the past 20 years.

Mr Usamate said the Workmen’s Compensation Act placed upon employers the legal responsibility to compensate workers who sustained injuries or deaths arising out of, or in the course of their employment.

He said the actual compensation was through monetary payments and in cases of death, compensation was paid out to the dependants.

“All cases that are reported to my Ministry are investigated to determine the cause of injuries and deaths,” Mr Usamate said.

He said the reports were then submitted to the medical practitioners for their expert opinion and assessment to determine the status of each case.

He said once medical reports were available and if any percentage of disability was awarded to the workers or medical opinion stating that the death was work-related the Ministry would then calculate the claim before seeking the employer’s consent for the payment of compensation to the workers concerned or the dependants of the deceased workers.

Meanwhile, on the disposition of cases, the Ministry settled 1246 cases in 2015 that comprised of 158 death cases and 1088 injury cases.

In 2016, 1061 cases were settled comprising of 862 injury cases and 199 death cases.

Mr Usamate said the Ministry was working closely with employers and workers through their respective in-house OHS committees to ensure that the requirements under the Health and Safety at Work Act were fulfilled.

He has reassured that the Ministry would work with employers and other stakeholders to ensure that the health and safety of workers were safeguarded, and that workers who were injured or died due to their work were appropriately compensated.

 

Background:

1994 was the last amendment to the worker’s compensation quantum.

This was more than twenty (20) years ago when the compensation for death cases was increased from $12,000 to $24,000.

The amendment to the Act (17 July 2015) entitles injured workers or families of workers who lost their loved ones as a result of workplace accidents to receive compensation up to $50,000 compared to the $24,000 that had been in existence for the past 20 years.

 

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj 

 

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