The law concerning organization of social security defines work injury as “any accident, whatever the cause may be, that befalls a worker while on duty.”
Besides accidents that may befall an employee to or from work, his or her residence, other situations that are considered as occupational injury are accidents that happen when an employee is on his or her usual route where they get meals or receive remuneration as long as the journey is not interrupted or diverted for personal reasons and not related to duty. Also considered are accidents that befall an employee during a journey that has been financed by the employer.
The law further defines an occupational disease as a “disease that results from work or befalls someone in the course of work, or working conditions or directly connected with hazards that are peculiar to this work.” Legal provisions relating to work injury also apply to occupational diseases. For instance, the date which the disease is noticed by a doctor is usually considered as the date of the accident occurrence.
Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) has for years provided occupational hazard insurance for employees working for all companies registered in Rwanda. Of the 8% of an employee’s salary that is contributed towards the pension and occupational schemes, 2% is designated for occupational hazard insurance. In case of work-related injuries or death in the line of work, employees or their beneficiaries are compensated through the insurance. The benefits of occupational health insurance include free medical care, daily sickness allowances, incapacity social security benefits, incapacity lump sum benefits and survivors’ benefits.
Besides emergency care provided by the employer in the event of a work-related accident, RSSB is responsible for victims’ medical care which includes medical assistance and treatment in approved hospitals within the country and where necessary abroad. This is in addition to the supply of pharmaceutical drug products and any x-rays or laboratory examinations and analysis.
Occupational health insurance benefits categories
Temporary incapacity benefit offers victims 75% of average daily earnings in the last three months payable until full recovery or certificate of permanent incapacity is issued for a maximum of 180 days.
Permanent incapacity benefit is given in the case of permanent total incapacity of 100%.The victim is entitled to a pension of 85% of his or her average monthly earnings in the last three months payable.
Partial permanent incapacity benefit is given according to the degree of incapacity proportional to the pension the beneficiary would get if they had been permanently incapacitated. If the degree of incapacity is at least 15%, the beneficiary if given, on a monthly basis, a percentage of full pension according to the level of incapacity. On the other hand, if the level of incapacity if less that 15% the beneficiary is offered a lump sum payment equal to three years’ pension according to the degree of incapacity suffered by the beneficiary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the process involved in filing a claim?
The first step towards making a claim is for a victim to inform their employer directly about the accident, as soon as possible. Giving details relating to circumstances of the accident such as place of accident, eye witnesses and third party responsible for the accident if any.
The employer then uses the information to fill in an accident declaration form and declares to RSSB and the inspector of labour in the district where the organization is located within four working days of the occurrence of the occupational hazard or occupational disease noticed.
Upon visiting a doctor, a medical certificate is issued of the first hand state of injuries sustained and thereafter the doctor provides RSSB with a medical certificate of the prolongation of injuries every 30 days. This prolongation however, must not exceed 150 days. On completion of treatment, the doctor issues a certificate of healing and consolidation of injuries.
All hospital bills pertaining to treatment or food should be presented to RSSB for refunds.
Can a victim make a declaration directly to RSSB without involving the employer?
Where the employer does not make a declaration as provided by the law, the victim of an occupational hazard or disease or his or her legitimate representative may do it.
Who are the eligible survivors?
Parents, spouse, and children
How are survivors’ allowances calculated?
The survivors’ allowances are fixed percentages of the salary previously earned by the deceased.
30% for the widow or widower
15% for each child in the case that the child has a surviving parent
20% for each child in the case that the child or children do not have any surviving parent.
10% for each parent
What is the maximum duration within which one should report a work related accident to RSSB?
The maximum duration is one year for those working in the public service sector and 2 years for those in the private sector.
How is compensation calculated for victims who have not yet completed three months working in an organization?
The victim’s daily remuneration is calculated based on the remuneration he or she would have received had they worked for three months in the same condition.
Who is responsible for preventing occupational hazards?
It is the sole responsibility of an employer to prevent occurrence of accidents in the workplace.
RSSB will periodically make impromptu visits to companies to monitor and evaluate how employers are ensuring the safety of their employees. In the near future, RSSB will set up a prevention unit that will be dedicated to supporting employers to prevent occupational hazards.