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WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

   Section

 

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

   1.   Interpretation.

   2.   Application.

PART II
COMPENSATION FOR INJURY.

   3.   Employer's liability.

   4.   Fatal injuries.

   5.   Permanent total incapacity.

   6.   Permanent partial incapacity.

   7.   Temporary incapacity.

   8.   Calculation of earnings.

   9.   Notification of accident.

   10.   Notification by employer to labour officer.

   11.   Medical examination and treatment.

   12.   Agreement as to compensation.

   13.   Computed assessment of disability.

   14.   Determination of claims.

   15.   Power of court to submit question of law.

   16.   Appeals.

   17.   Effect of receipt of damages.

   18.   Insurance.

   19.   Powers of Minister regarding insurance.

   20.   Bankruptcy of employer.

   21.   Contracting out.

   22.   Liability in case of contract of work.

   23.   Compensation not to be assigned, etc.

PART III
MEDICAL AID.

   24.   Medical aid.

   25.   Decisions of the court concerning treatment and medical reports.

   26.   Procedures relating to claims.

PART IV
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES.

   27.   Compensation payable in respect of diseases.

   28.   Employer's duty to report scheduled diseases.

   29.   Liability to pay compensation.

   30.   Fixing of dates.

   31.   Presumption as to cause of disease.

   32.   Power of Minister to amend the Third Schedule.

PART V
GENERAL.

   33.   Regulations.

   34.   Offence by bodies of persons.

   35.   Rules of court.

   36.   Workers and dependents outside Uganda.

   37.   Power of Minister to amend the First Schedule.

 

      First Schedule   Currency point.

      Second Schedule   Percentages for permanent incapacities.

      Third Schedule   Scheduled diseases.

 

CHAPTER 225
WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT.

Commencement: 15 September, 2000.

   An Act to provide for compensation to workers for injuries suffered and scheduled diseases incurred in the course of their employment.

 

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

 

1.   Interpretation.

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   (a)   "court" means a magistrate's court established under the Magistrates Courts Act, presided over by a chief magistrate or a magistrate grade I, having jurisdiction in the area where the accident to the worker has occurred;

   (b)   "currency point" has the meaning assigned to it in the First Schedule to this Act;

   (c)   "dependents" means those members of the family including children and the parents substantially dependent on the earnings of a worker at the time of his or her death;

   (d)   "director general of health services" means an officer appointed as the director general of health services in the Ministry responsible for health by the Health Service Commission;

   (e)   "disabilities" means lack or restriction of ability, caused by impairment, to perform any activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being, within the cultural context;

   (f)   "earnings" includes wages and any allowances paid by the employer to the worker, including the value of any food, accommodation or benefit in kind;

   (g)   "employer" means the Government of Uganda, any person incorporated or unincorporated, association or partnership, which directly engages a worker or which, in respect of any worker, carries on the business of hiring out his or her services;

   (h)   "Industrial Relations Charter" means the Charter governing the relationship between national workers and employers organisations in Uganda adopted in 1964 and recognised by the Government, as from time to time amended;

   (i)   "injury" includes an accident and a scheduled disease;

   (j)   "insurer" includes any insurance society, association, company or underwriter as may be designated by the Minister responsible for finance;

   (k)   "labour advisory board" means a board, representative of the interests of the Government, workers and employers, as defined by the Industrial Relations Charter;

   (l)   "labour officer" means the labour commissioner and any other labour officer of the area where the accident occurs, assigned by the labour commissioner in writing;

   (m)   "medical arbitration board" means the arbitration body appointed under section 13(4);

   (n)   "medical authority" means a medical practitioner and any other health personnel authorised by the Minister responsible for health for the purpose of this Act;

   (o)   "medical care" means medical, surgical and hospital treatment, skilled nursing services, dental care, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and the supply, maintenance, repair and renewal of artificial limbs or any other artificial appliances or apparatus;

   (p)   "medical practitioner" means a medical practitioner registered or licensed under the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act;

   (q)   "member of the family" means the wife, husband, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin or adopted child;

   (r)   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for labour;

   (s)   "scheduled disease" means a disease specified in the Third Schedule to this Act;

   (t)   "total incapacity" means incapacity, whether of a temporary or permanent nature, which incapacitates a worker for any employment which he or she was capable of undertaking at the time when the accident occurred;

   (u)   "worker" means—

      (i)   any person who performs services in exchange for remuneration, other than a person who performs services as an independent contractor; or

      (ii)   an apprentice who is engaged primarily for the purpose of receiving training in a trade or profession.

   (2) For the purposes of the definition of "partial incapacity" in this section, every injury specified in the Second Schedule to this Act except an injury or combination of injuries in respect of which the percentage or aggregate percentage of the loss of earning capacity specified in that Schedule in relation to that injury or those injuries amounts to 100 percent or more shall be taken to result in permanent partial disability.

   (3) For the purposes of the definition of total incapacity in this section, "permanent total incapacity" shall be deemed to result from an injury or from any combination of injuries specified in the Second Schedule to this Act where the percentage or aggregate specified in that Schedule in relation to the injury or injuries amounts to 100 percent or more.

   (4) Any reference to a worker who has been injured shall, where the worker is dead, include a reference to his or her personal representative or his or her dependents, or to a person officially appointed to act in those circumstances.

 

2.   Application.

   (1) This Act shall apply to all employment within Uganda.

   (2) This Act shall apply to workers employed by or under the Government of Uganda in the same way and to the same extent as if the employer were a private person, but the Act shall not apply to active members of the armed forces of Uganda.

 

PART II
COMPENSATION FOR INJURY.

 

3.   Employer's liability.

   (1) If personal injury by accident arises out of and in the course of a worker's employment, the injured worker's employer shall be liable to pay compensation in accordance with this Act.

   (2) The employer shall not be liable in respect of an injury which does not either—

   (a)   result in permanent incapacity; or

   (b)   incapacitate the worker for at least three consecutive days from earning full wages at the work at which he or she was employed.

   (3) An act shall be deemed to be done out of and in the course of employment when a worker acts to protect any person on the employer's premises whom the worker believes to be injured or imperilled, or when a worker acts to protect property on the employer's premises.

   (4) Any personal injury by accident arising while the employee is travelling directly to or from his or her place of work for the purpose of employment shall be deemed to be an accident arising out of and in the course of his or her employment.

   (5) For the purposes of this section, it shall be for the employee who suffers injury by accident arising while travelling to or from his or her place of work to show that such travel was direct.

   (6) Compensation shall be payable under this section whether or not the incapacity or death of the worker was due to the recklessness or negligence of the worker or otherwise.

   (7) Any accident arising in the course of employment shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to arise out of employment.

   (8) Compensation in cases of permanent incapacity or death shall, in principle, be paid in the form of periodic payments; otherwise, they may be awarded in lump sums as provided under this Act.

 

4.   Fatal injuries.

   (1) Where the deceased worker leaves any family members who are dependent on his or her earnings, the amount of compensation shall be a sum equal to 60 times his or her monthly earnings, computed in accordance with section 8 subject to a maximum which may be varied by the Minister on the recommendation of the labour advisory board.

   (2) Where the deceased worker does not leave any family members who are dependent on his or her earnings, the employer shall pay the expenses of the medical aid provided and the burial expenses of the deceased.

   (3) Where the deceased worker has, in respect of the same accident, received compensation under section 5 or 6, half of that amount shall be deducted from the sum payable under subsection (1).

   (4) It shall be presumed for the purposes of this Act that a worker has dependents unless the local authority of the home area of the deceased prove otherwise.

   (5) Where an injury results in the death of a worker, any compensation payable under this Act shall be paid to the labour commissioner who, in consultation with the Administrator General, will pay it to the beneficiaries according to the degree of dependence of the survivors to the deceased.

   (6) If the worker is killed as a result of an accident for which the employer has liability under this Act, the dependents (if any) of the deceased may recover from the employer the expenses of medical treatment of the deceased, burial of the deceased and expenses incidental to the medical treatment and burial of the deceased.

 

5.   Permanent total incapacity.

   (1) Except where the terms and conditions of service provide for a higher compensation, where permanent total incapacity results from any injury, the amount of compensation shall be a sum equal to 60 months' earnings.

   (2) Where an injury under this section is such as to be likely to require the injured worker to have the constant assistance of another person on a permanent basis, then the amount of compensation payable shall be increased by one-quarter.

 

6.   Permanent partial incapacity.

   (1) Where permanent partial incapacity results from the injury, the amount of compensation shall be—

   (a)   in the case of an injury specified in the Second Schedule to this Act, such percentage of 60 times the workers' monthly earnings as is specified in that Schedule as being the percentage of the loss of earning capacity caused by that injury;

   (b)   in the case of an injury not specified in the Second Schedule to this Act, such percentage of 60 times the workers' monthly earnings as is proportionate to the loss of earning capacity permanently caused by the injury.

   (2) Where more than one injury results from the same accident, the amount of compensation shall be aggregated, but the amount of compensation payable under this section shall not be greater than the amount that would have been payable if the accident had caused the worker to suffer permanent total incapacity.

   (3) The Minister on the recommendation of the labour advisory board may, by statutory instrument, increase the amount of compensation payable under this section.

 

7.   Temporary incapacity.

   (1) Where temporary incapacity, whether total or partial, results from the injury, the compensation shall be either a lump sum or periodic payments as the court may order, having regard to the circumstances in which the accident took place, the probable duration of the incapacity of the worker, the injuries suffered by the worker and the financial consequences for the worker and his or her dependents.

   (2) The period covered by hospitalisation or absence from duty certified necessary by a medical practitioner shall be regarded as a period of temporary total incapacity irrespective of the outcome of the injury, and any period subsequent but preceding final assessment of disability shall be regarded as a period of temporary partial incapacity, both periods being continuous with each other, variations in payments notwithstanding; and the maximum duration of periodical payments under this section shall not exceed 96 months, except where in the opinion of a medical practitioner, the period of incapacity is longer, it may be extended beyond the 96 months.

 

8.   Calculation of earnings.

   (1) For the purpose of this Act, the monthly earnings of a worker shall be computed in a manner best calculated to give the rate per month at which the worker has been remunerated during the 12 months immediately preceding the accident, and the computation of annual earnings shall be a multiple of 12 of that sum.

   (2) Where, by reason of the shortness of time during which the worker has been employed or for other good cause, it is not possible to compute the earnings of the worker in the way mentioned in subsection (1), regard may be had to the average monthly amount which was being earned by a person of similar earning capacity in the same grade as the worker and employed at the same or similar employment.

   (3) Where a dependent dies before payment of compensation in respect of a worker's death is made to the dependent, his or her legal representative shall have no right to receive the payment, and the claim for compensation shall be dealt with as if that dependent had died before the worker.

   (4) Where an employer makes a payment to a worker or the dependents of a deceased worker pending the settlement of determination of a claim arising under this Act, the receipt shall be deducted from the amount of the compensation payable in respect of the accident, except medical expenses as provided for under section 24.

 

9.   Notification of accident.

   (1) Compensation may not be payable under this Act unless notice of the accident has been given to the employer by or on behalf of the worker as soon as is reasonably practicable, and in any case within one month after the date when the accident occurred or within three months after the date the symptoms of the occupational disease became apparent; but no notice is required where it is shown that the employer was aware of the accident or disease at or about the time it occurred or at the time when the symptoms became evident, or for any reasonable cause.

   (2) Notice in respect of an accident causing injury to which this Act applies shall be given in a form prescribed by the Minister, by regulations.

 

10.   Notification by employer to labour officer.

   (1) After the happening of an accident causing injury to a worker of such a nature as would entitle him or her to compensation under this Act, the employer shall, at once, report the accident either by telephone, telegram, telefax or telex or any other reasonable means to the labour officer of the area; and the report shall be followed immediately by a written report of the accident before the worker has voluntarily left the employment in which he or she was injured.

   (2) Where the death of a worker from any cause is brought to the attention of, or comes to the knowledge of his or her employer, the employer shall, as soon as reasonably practicable after the death, give notice to the labour officer, stating the circumstances of the death if they are known to the employer.

   (3) Any employer who fails to comply with subsection (1) or (2) without reasonable cause, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 10 currency points.

   (4) Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from making a claim for compensation under this Act.

 

11.   Medical examination and treatment.

   (1) Where a worker has given notice of an accident, the employer shall, as soon as reasonably possible after the date on which notice has been given, arrange to have the worker medically examined by a qualified medical practitioner, at no charge to the worker.

   (2) The worker shall be entitled to have his or her own medical practitioner or an official of a trade union of which he or she is a member present at the examination, but the attendance shall be at the worker's own expense.

   (3) Failure without good cause to appear for a medical examination under this section, or failure to observe the clinical instructions given by a medical practitioner and given at or following the examination, may be taken into account by the court in assessing the amount of compensation payable under this Act; and the court may use the failure to justify the making of a deduction from any sum which would otherwise have been payable in respect of an injury suffered by the worker.

   (4) During the period of temporary total incapacity, the employer shall be liable to pay the costs of medical care.

 

12.   Agreement as to compensation.

   (1) The employer and the worker may, with the written approval of the labour officer, agree that compensation be paid in respect of an injury which would otherwise give rise to a claim under this Act.

   (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the following requirements shall be complied with—

   (a)   the compensation agreed upon shall not be less than the amount payable under this Act; and

   (b)   it shall be for the employer to show that the worker was able to understand the terms of the agreement.

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