How to obtain Compensation in the workplace in Malawi
By Sam Banda Jnr
It is a requirement that employers take care of their employee’s needs and provide a supportive work environment.
But there are times when the workplace can be dangerous, particularly in industries that involve physical work or require the operation of heavy duty machinery.
While some accidents may happen due to carelessness or negligence by employees, some employees get hurt because of the actual work they are involved in.
If you are involved in an accident in the workplace, you can be compensated, but only if you follow the correct procedure.
Malawi Government Workers’ Compensation Act says that an employee has the right to compensation when he or she is involved in an accident whilst on duty.
The Act says there are proceedings for the recovery of compensation for an injury and that notice has to be given once the incident happens.
The Act further says that an application for compensation has to be made with respect to such injury within twelve months from the date it was incurred or in the case of death, within twelve months from the time of death (compensation in this case is paid to the family and/or spouse).
A worker shall be compensated if the following occurs:
"Every injury arising out of and in the course of employment which results in the death of a worker or which may result in death to a worker or is likely to result in some degree of permanent incapacity to a worker or incapacitating a worker from following his normal employment for more than fourteen days."
The process of compensation also demands that if a worker has given notice of an injury, he shall go for a medical examination to be carried out free of charge by a medical practitioner named by the employer.
The Act says where the worker fails to submit himself for such examination; his or her right to compensation shall be suspended until such examination has taken place.
Any employer who fails to compensate an employer after a report has been made or fails to comply with the requirements of the Act, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of 20,000 Malawi Kwacha ($143).
Here are some of the schedules of percentages of incapacities:
Loss of two limbs, loss of both hands or of all fingers and thumbs, both feet, loss of sight, total paralysis, injuries resulting in being permanently bedridden and any other injury causing permanent total disablement – the worker must receive 100 percent compensation.