Workers’ Compensation Act review in offing

TANZANIA: THE government has assured Judges of the High Court of Tanzania, Labour Division that it takes seriously their recommendations and suggestions on improvements to the Workers Compensation Act.

The Minister of State, in the Prime Minister’s Office (Labour, Youth, Employment and People with Disability), Professor Joyce Ndalichako said over the weekend that the government was already working on some of the proposals for law improvements made by judges at a similar session held in Bagamoyo in July, 2023.

“We have worked on some of them and we expect the amendment bill to be submitted in Parliament soon,” she assured the judges when she closed the working session of educational training for Judges of the High Court of Tanzania, Labour Division, Southern Region, Executives of the High Court of Tanzania and Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA) in Songea, Ruvuma Region.

She mentioned some of the suggestions that have been worked upon as improvements on section 39 (2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act [Chapter 263], which set a time limit for submitting claims without giving scope to receive such claims if there are fundamental reasons for the delay.

Prof Ndalichako further said, her office, through the Workers Compensation Fund (WCF), expects to receive more views from judges to increase the effectiveness of the implementation of the Workers Compensation Act [Chapter 263].

“I would like to see that among your suggestions in this training is how easy we can use the law to enable all employers, who have not registered with WCF, to do so immediately,” she said.

Minister Ndalichako also noted that the government recognises and appreciates the contribution of workers in all sectors and that is why, it has continued to implement and improve compensation issues for workers in the private and public sectors.

She said, in the short period of the sixth phase of government under the stewardship of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, various changes have been witnessed in the social security sector, including the deduction of the contribution rate for private sector employers from 1 per cent of the employee’s salary every month to 0.5 per cent.

Earlier when opening the training over the weekend, the Principal Judge of the High Court of Tanzania, Mustapher Siyani encouraged employers in the country to register with WCF and provide employment information of their employees to protect the rights of those employees when they encounter disasters while at work.

“There are still employers who do not provide their employees information and thus hinder the fund to pay compensation. Let them be warned that there is a law in place that punishes employers who fail to register with WCF,” said Judge Siyani.

Judge Siyani gave an example of the case of a man, who was working at a construction company in the Lindi Region, who got injured while at work and led to the loss of his limbs and caused him permanent disability of more than 75 per cent but he did not have the opportunity to get compensation because his employer had not registered and submitted contributions to WCF by the law.

On his part, the Director General of the Workers Compensation Fund (WCF), Dr John Mduma, said that the Judiciary of Tanzania is an important stakeholder of the Fund in the implementation of its responsibilities.

Dr Mduma has said that the training provides an opportunity to share the knowledge of Court and WCF experts through various topics that will be presented.

“It is the expectation that this training will bring great benefits to both parties, fostering relations to provide better services to the people,” said Dr Mduma.

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