On 22 October 2021, the Government Gazette published a notice relating to compensation for mandatory workplace vaccinations. As more employers make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, employees have become increasingly frustrated.
In terms of section 6A(b) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), employees can now receive compensation for any side effects experienced from the COVID-19 vaccine. The notice stated that if an employee is required to take the COVID-19 vaccine as an occupational requirement and experience illness, death, or injury, they will be eligible to be compensated by Compensation Fund. According to the notice, a successful compensation claim will be considered if the following requirements can be proven:
- The mandatory vaccination must be an inherent requirement of the job, according to the employer's risk assessment which must be conducted in terms of the Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces (hereafter referred to as the 'Directions');
- The employer must prove his/her risk assessment and vaccination plan is in line with the Directions as mentioned above;
- The vaccine received must be a SAHPRA approved vaccine; and
- The side effects experienced must be linked to the vaccine received
If the requirements mentioned above can be proven, an employee will be eligible to receive compensation from the Fund. Employers are advised to inform their employees of their right to claim from the Fund to implement mandatory vaccination policies.
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