Department of Employment and Labour
The employment and labour department has welcomed the Constitutional Court judgement affirming the right of domestic workers to be covered for injuries sustained during employment.
In a statement, the department pointed out that the judgement affirmed last year’s decision by the High Court that found the exclusion unconstitutional.
“In the judgement, the court found that excluding domestic workers from the definition of employee excluded them from the ‘social security benefits provided for under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act’”.
Reference was made to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill, tabled in parliament in September 2020.
Cabinet approved the bill in March 2020 for tabling in parliament.
Cabinet described the bill as extending coverage for occupational injuries and diseases to previously excluded vulnerable workers as well as the improvement of compensation benefits to employees in general.
The cabinet statement added that the bill now includes, amongst others, domestic workers under the category of employees for purposes of benefits in terms of the act.
It also proposes the rehabilitation and reintegration framework of injured and/or diseased employees into the workplace.
As regards the order that the inclusion be retrospective to April 27, 1994, the department indicated that this judgement had been anticipated and ways to implement this are under consideration.
“Given the fact that the employers of domestic workers need to contribute to the Fund, the department will issue a directive to this effect and also on how the Department will deal with the retrospective aspect in as far as contributions are concerned.”