New law to protect injured workers

June 19, 2013 1:59 pm
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Cabinet Secretary in charge of Labour and Social Services Kazungu Kambi said on Wednesday that a lot of manpower went to waste because of work related accidents that are not sufficiently compensated/FILE
Cabinet Secretary in charge of Labour and Social Services Kazungu Kambi said on Wednesday that a lot of manpower went to waste because of work related accidents that are not sufficiently compensated/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 19 – Employees who work under risky conditions will soon have a reason to smile following the establishment of a law that will ensure they get duly compensated for injuries sustained at their places of work.

Cabinet Secretary in charge of Labour and Social Services Kazungu Kambi said on Wednesday that a lot of manpower went to waste because of work related accidents that are not sufficiently compensated.

He noted that the trend also created a negative impact on the country’s economic growth which would subsequently slow down the realisation of Vision 2030.

“It is estimated by the International Labour Organisation that such costs could be between three and four percent of the Gross National Product of each country and the burden could be higher in countries where a safety culture has not been institutionalised,” he explained.

Although the law dubbed the Work Injury Compensation Bill is still a work in progress, it proposes the establishment of a fund from which monies for settling such damages will be drawn.

Kambi further explained that the Bill gave employers the option of subscribing to the Fund or maintaining an insurance cover for work injury compensation.

It also establishes medical advisory panels that will help expedite the assessment of the degree of disablement of the injured workers.

“Gone should be the days when an employee loses a finger and it takes 100 years for that person to be paid. And I know it will not be easy but we must have ways and means of compensating injured workers,” he said.

If the Bill is retained as it is, employers will have to contribute to the Fund and the government will also provide one off take off grants.

Kambi added that the Bill was already in Parliament awaiting debate.

“I signed this very Bill the first day I got to the office and it’s already before Parliament. One thing I’ll tell you is that I don’t believe in tomorrow; I believe in today because I don’t know whether I’ll be alive tomorrow,” he said.

The Bill further proposes that the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Labour Services makes rules governing the efficient management and administration of the Fund in consultation with the National Treasury and the Board of Trustees.

The Board shall have eight members who shall be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary including the Chairman, the Director, one nominee from the most representative federation of trade unions and one nominee from the most representative federation of employers.

The Principal Secretary for Labour Services, a nominee of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board with experience in occupational medicine, a nominee of the insurance regulatory authority and a representative of the National Treasury are also listed as Board members.

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