Sadly, Louis van Assen passed away on the 9th of April 2013 after being ill for quite some time.

Managing Workers' Compensation

When the employer has reported the alleged accidents as required by the relevant law, it is not yet time to sit back and expect that the state department will now go out of its way to render a friendly and speedy service. That dear friend is a myth. You will still be the party that is obliged to monitor the developments in the claim for the injury on duty. If you fail to do that a number of people, such as the medical service providers and the injured employee, might be in for a surprise.

Knowledge a prerequisite for keeping track
In the first place you must be familiar with the provisions of the COID Act and the procedures emanating from that to be aware of what you should look out for. Unless your own expertise about workers’ compensation is up to standard, I am afraid the State department can do what they like and you would not be in a position to query their actions.
Put the following questions to yourself to test your basic knowledge. These are “musts” for you to administer the injuries on duty in your organisation:

  • What amount must the employer pay the employee when off duty as a result of an injury and for what period?
  • What benefits are payable by the Compensation Commissioner to an injured employee in the form of temporary total disablement benefits?
  • Name the amount that is applicable in respect of the maximum earnings for the purpose of calculating the above benefits payable by the Compensation Commissioner;
  • What amount is due to you as the employer by the Compensation Commissioner when someone is injured on duty?

I have no intention of supplying the answers to the above, which are for you to look up in case you have failed the quiz (at the entry to the website). I can only say if you have all the answers wrong or simply do not know what they are, a quick improvement of your administration skills as far as this aspect is concerned is necessary.

Monitoring Mechanisms
There are various ways of monitoring the progress of a claim. These range from the most sophisticated computer software programmes to the most basic methods. I cannot prescribe to you the reader what the best method or programme will be, you will have to evaluate your individual needs and then introduce the system. All I can say with certainty is that a monitoring process is an absolute necessity. You must place yourself in the position that will continuously remind you of matters such as:

  • Forms to be completed in accordance with the legal requirements, e.g. Progress Reports of medical practitioners that are due to be submitted to the Compensation Commissioner. I have great respect for your intelligence but believe me it is not possible to remember each date on which specific actions are necesasry. When you deal with claims administration there are more permutations of actions associated with the different claims than anyone can purely depend on remembering;
  • Actions for collecting money from the Compensation Commissioner in respect of a specific claim: not only those amounts due the employee but also to the employer. You see, that is where knowledge of the COID Act is necessary, What you do not know you will not miss and believe me, you could be losing substantial amounts;
  • Important dates in the calendar for complying with the statutory requirements. This does not only concern the claims process but workers’ compensation administration as a whole, including matters such as the annual premium payable. Without being nasty but the state, whatever the level of service might be, seems to excel when it comes to penalties and interest on outstanding amounts (read due to them);
  • The Earnings limits for the different years for assessment purposes and the assessment rate applicable to enable you to calculate and verify your assessments;
  • The annual Schedule 4 published in the Government Gazette that prescribes the compensation benefits for the specific year. Without this Schedule or not knowing how it works, you can accept the fact that you will never know how to calculate compensation or what is due by the Compensation Commissioner to you the employer;

I am not writing this monthly contribution for the sake of advertising products supplied by Workers Compensation Assistance. I can however recommend their computerised programme to fulfil the needs that I have very briefly outlined above purely to convey the principles of managing your workers’ compensation administration. The system is called WAM and I am sure you will find all the details of the programme on the website. (Sadly, I get no commission)

Cost of our Workers Compensation system
I am aware that numerous employers are, to say the least, ignorant of what workers’ compensation is costing them. I will next month give you a general overview of this subject to create more awareness. You will be surprised to know how the cost is on the increase.

Till then, please ensure that your administration structure is streamlined if not yet so.