Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board reforms

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THERE is no doubt in our minds that the reform process of the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) will yield positive results for many of the people we serve, only if corporate performance will exceed stakeholder expectations.
That is why, we totally agree with motivational speaker and life coach Galamukani Banda when he put it to our workers that WCFCB will realise its vision if employees make sacrifices and perform beyond their targets.
Society has waited long enough and we really have no option but to adapt to stakeholder expectations.
As far as we are concerned, the change process must result in meeting some of the following expectations:
–  Compensation must be awarded to eligible workers and their families when a claim is made. There should be no nightmarish delays in processing compensation claims.
– Compensation packages must be adequate to provide relief for lost earning capacity. Beneficiaries in receipt of monthly disability pensions must receive their money without any trouble.
– Our clients must easily interact with us. They should be able to easily locate us on the internet and even in physical spaces that we occupy.
The list of expectations may be endless but what is clear in all this is that WCFCB must perform beyond expectation and it will take excellence in people, systems and a conducive environment to deliver.
Whilst we make deliberate efforts, especially through in-house workshops such as the one we held in Ndola last week to implement employee culture change and engagement programmes, there is need for improvement of systems in order to address issues of compliance, service delivery and fund management.
The improvement of systems will require active participation of those members of the legal community to whom the Workers’ Compensation Act No 10 of 1999 of the Laws of Zambia applies. For instance, the active participation of employers in the administration of the scheme will entail that:
Accidents and diseases occurring at the work stations including those which occur as a result of commuting between work and place of residence are reported for compensation purposes within three days of occurrence.
You will agree with me that even if we put in the best of our ability to process claims, there will be no efficiency in the system as long as claims are not submitted in good time.
Some of the claims are reported months after occurrence and this is one of the major causes of delayed compensation cases.
I always encourage employers to make an effort to acquire accident registers for recording of incidences for compensation purposes…It is good practice.
Employers amenable to the Workers’ Compensation Act must, without any form of intervention from the Commissioner, register their businesses or is it workers within fourteen days of commencement of business.
However, this does not normally happen and our field officers have to go for inspections to establish status of new employers in terms of registration. What needs to be understood is that by registering business with WCFCB, employers protect their employees against employment injuries and even diseases.
This in my opinion is just good business practice, and we do not need to go round inspecting the environment.
The other important role that employers must play is to ensure that assessments are paid to WCFCB at the commencement of each financial year.
This again is just good business practice. There is no need for us to convince employers to make these payments, which are supposed to serve a great purpose in providing relief to those employees who contract diseases or suffer injuries in the course of duty.
We remain certainly optimistic that WCFCB will perform beyond expectations once the change process is fully implemented, and we believe that a great appreciation of the role of employers in the administration of the Board will go a long way in achieving high performance.
This high performance will certainly bring hope to many workers who are constrained by reason of employment injury and disease.
We are also aware of the urgent need to improve customer service generally and for this reason, we are encouraging our customers and readers of this column to bring to our attention some of the issues negatively affecting our performance. Feed-back is highly desired for the improvement of systems for service delivery and compliance.
My readers, I wish to request you to find time to interrogate our systems and bring forward suggestions for better service to our stakeholders.
Maybin Nkholomba
Public Relations Manager
Worker’s Compensation Fund Control Board
Emai: mnkholomba@workers.com.zm

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