Employers encouraged to reintegrate injured workers

The Compensation Fund has urged for employers to play their role in facilitating the reintegration of injured worker.

The second BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) Meeting took place from Monday, May 9 through Thursday, May 12 in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, with the focus on “ensuring decent work, dignity, and respect for all.”

The Compensation Fund has issued a strong plea to companies to help facilitate the return of injured people to work.

Nthabiseng Magonono, the director of the Compensation Fund’s vocational rehabilitation programme, stated that the programme of rehabilitation, reintegration, and return-to-work is introducing a programme that will allow injured workers who have sustained a permanent disability to be reintegrated into the workplace.

“The tendency by the employer to dismiss those injured workers after they have acquired a disablement pushes them to poverty. So, the Compensation Fund saw it as important to ensure that we monitor this process. We ensure that we come up with a programme that is going to assist our injured workers to be reintegrated into the workplace,” said Magonono.

Before releasing an injured employee, according to Magonono, the employer must have looked into every possible option for reintegrating the employee into the job.

She said these may involve an adaptive placement or even risk skilling and upskilling. There has also been the introduction of a unit under the Compensation Fund that deals with reintegration rehabilitation and return-to-work. They have four pillars.

“We have clinical rehabilitation which deals with the multidisciplinary interventions that are aimed at supporting the injured workers to gain their pre-injury abilities.

“We also have the social reintegration to enable that those injured workers, they are independent in the society.

“We also have the orthotics and prosthetics where we make sure that they are given their devices. Lastly, we have vocational rehabilitation whereby they are being upskilled so that they can get required capabilities and knowledge to be reintegrated back into the society,” said Magonono.

Magonono also disclosed that they have expanded their general welfare services to include both the missing middle and the dependents of workers who had died as a result of their injuries.

Participants included representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Department of Labour and Employment executive committee, which was chaired by Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi, local academic specialists, international experts, and social partners.

The programme encouraged guest countries like Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to take part. Additionally invited, the African Union took the stage alongside the ILO, the African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC), and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

The 15th BRICS Summit, which will take place in South Africa from August 22 to 24, 2023, will bring together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. South Africa will chair the BRICS countries with the theme, “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism.”