The department is mandated to enforce the Workers’ Compensation Act, Cap 55:03 of the Laws of Malawi.
- There are two main objectives of the Act which are to provide for compensation for injuries suffered or diseases contracted by workers in the course of their employment or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases.
- Secondly, it is for the establishment and administration of a Workers’ Compensation Fund so that compensation is paid periodically and during the period of contingency out of the Fund, unlike the present system of Individual Employer Liability which pays a lump sum regardless of the extent of permanent incapacity one suffers.
Duties & Functions of the Department
Some of the duties and functions of the department are:
- Receive notice of injuries and claims for compensation.
- Investigate into causes of injuries.
- Determine whether any person is a worker, or an employer for the purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Adjudicate upon all claims and other matters for determination.
- Decide any question relating to the right to compensation the submission, consideration and determination of claims for compensation computation of earnings the degree of incapacity of any worker; the amount and method of payment of any compensation.
- Determine whether any person is a dependant within the meaning of the Workers’ Compensation Act and, if so the degree of dependency;
- Conduct research into causes and methods of prevention of accidents, injuries and diseases in respect of which compensation may be payable under the Workers’ Compensation Act and make arrangements with any person having appropriate facilities or expertise for the conduct of any such research.
- Investigate whether any disease should be included in or deleted from the Second Schedule and make recommendations to the Minister of Labour or the Board in regard thereto.
Meaning of “Worker” and Exemptions
The Workers’ Compensation Act defines a “worker” as any person who has, whether before or after the commencement of the Act, entered into, or works under; a contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer in any employment, whether the contract is expressed orally or in writing or is implied. More definitions are contained in Section 3 of the said Act.
However, the following people are exempted from the definition of a worker:-
- Person whose employment is of a casual nature and who is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer’s business; not being a person employed for the purpose of any game or recreation and engaged or paid through a club;
- an outworker
- a tributer
- a member of the employers family living in the employer’s house.
- a member of the armed forces of Malawi or
- Any class of person whom the Minister of Labour may, by notice published in the Gazette, declare not to be workers for the purposes of the Workers Compensation Act.
Factual Statistical Accident Data
The department had unsettled accumulative figure of 13,419 workers compensation cases at the end of financial year 2010/2011. At the same time, from 2011/12 financial year; the department received 6,726 of which 5,049 were from the private sector and 1,677 were from the public sector with 22 fatal cases. This meant that 20,145 cases were in action during the financial year 2011/12.
During the year under review 665 cases were settled which translated into payment of K 145,369,668.12 as compensation awards to various beneficiaries. This meant that, at the close of the fiscal financial year 2011/12, the department had 19,480 outstanding cases.
The department also coordinates the payment of pension to Malawian senior citizens who had worked out side the country, retired and are now back home.
The Ministry of Labour through this department, therefore, sits on various bilateral permanent joint commissions of corporation meetings (JPCC), in the SADCC region to champion the interest of Social Security matters with various pension houses on behalf of our senior citizens.
Private Bag 66,