In accordance with the BCEA, every worker is entitled to 1 day of fully paid sick leave for every 26 days worked. This implies that during a 3-year period, a worker is entitled to the sick leave equal to the number of days they would normally work in a six-week period, which are 36 days (for workers working 6 days a week) and 30 days (for workers working 5 days a week).
Sick leave is fully paid. The employer must pay, on usual pay day, the wage that the worker would have ordinarily earned for work on that day. Sick leave pay may be reduced, by mutual agreement, if the number of days of sick leave is increased. A worker is then entitled to 75% of the wages for the sick leave over the sick leave cycle.
Other than that, workers are also granted sickness/illness benefits (45% of an insured worker's weekly earnings) payable up to 26 weeks after a waiting period of four to six weeks.
An employer may not pay a worker who has been on sick leave for more than 2 consecutive days or on more than two occasions during an 8-week period, if the worker, on request by the employer, does not produce a medical certificate stating that the duration of his/her absence is on account of sickness or injury.
Under the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001, amended in 2017, a contributor is not entitled to benefits if the period of illness is less than seven days.
Source: §22 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (last amended in 2014); ISSA Country Profile for South-Africa, 2017
The Compensation Fund provides compensation for employees who get hurt at work, or sick from diseases contracted at work, or for death as a result of these injuries or diseases.
The Compensation Fund is covered by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (No 130 of 1993) (COIDA) and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act (No 61 of 1997).
* Employees can claim if they are injured in an accident “in the course and scope of duty” (in other words, while they are doing their work).
* Employees can claim if they get a disease caused by the work (an occupational disease).
* If an employee dies from the accident or disease, their dependants can claim.
Employees who are drivers or who have to be transported as part of their work may be involved in motor vehicle accidents while working. Motor vehicle accidents at work are covered by the Road Accident Fund Act. The accident must be reported to the Compensation Commissioner, and will follow the normal Compensation procedure, but the money will be paid by the Road Accident Fund.
Any person who is employed or being trained by an employer, and is injured or gets sick on or because of the job can claim compensation. The following employees cannot claim compensation from the Fund:
* Domestic employees in private households
* Members of the South African National Defence Force and South African Police Services (they have their own fund)
* Outworkers to whom employers give articles to be made up or to wash or clean. Then they are not working under the control of the employer
* Employees who work outside South Africa for longer than 12 months at a time, unless there is a special agreement with the Commissioner.
Employers pay into the Compensation Fund once a month. Employees do not pay anything to the Fund, so employers cannot deduct money from employees' wages for this.
* No payment is made for claims which are made more than 12 months after the accident or death, or more than 12 months after the disease is diagnosed
* If an employee is off work for 3 days or less, this is not covered by the Compensation Fund. It may be covered by the employee's medical aid or sick fund
* No payment is made if the employee's own misconduct caused the accident unless the employee was seriously disabled or died from the accident
* There may be no payment if the employee unreasonably refuses to have medical treatment, for as long as the employee refuses.
Worker's medical benefits include medical, surgical, and hospital care, rehabilitation, and appliances. Benefits are provided for up to two years and may be extended in special cases.
The Compensation Fund also reimburses the cost of transporting an injured worker to a hospital, a doctor's office, or to his or her place of residence. An employer who demands or receives from an employee a contribution towards the cost of medical aid supplied or to be supplied is guilty of an offence.
Source: §71-79 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No. 130 of 1993