Nigeria, the Employee Compensation Bill

By Edward Olobayo

The time has truly come for Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) to be told, loud and clear, that it has no Workers’ Mandate on the Employee Compensation Bill (ECB) and therefore does not have a basis to say the ECB is an anti-workers bill.

For years, the insurance industry has administered the Workmen’s Compensation Act, (WCA) in accordance with profit motive. Profit motive as we all know, in private insurance, will always work against the interest of the victims. As a matter of fact, by its set-up and scheme, the Workmen Compensation Act, (WCA) under its underlying private insurance, would not have contemplated long term and continuous welfare of the injured employee so as to either get him back to work, or take care of his livelihood so he does not turn out a social liability.

Due to profit motive, writ large under the Workmen Compensation Act, (WCA) many of the victims of workplace injuries, receive less than humane treatment or satisfactory compensation. The Insurance Group with the benefit of hindsight, has this legendary characteristic of persistently attacking progressive labour because of sheer profit motive.

In 1994 during the transformation of the National Provident Fund (NPF) into Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, (NSITF) with enhanced benefit for workers covering Invalidity Pension/grant. Retirement Pension/grant, Survivors pension/grant and Funeral grant, the Insurance Group petitioned Government to exempt its members supposedly “with better pension/retirement schemes.”

The employment injury, otherwise known as invalidity benefits and survivor’s benefits are two of the nine branches of the ILO Convention 102. The Insurance Group would have preferred the continuation of the NPF scheme, ad-infinitum, where not much would be required of its members for the long term benefit of the workers. Under the National Provident Fund,(NPF) managed by organized labour, employer and government, a registered worker paid N4 monthly and with a matching N4 from his employer.

So, in a month, the worker contributed N8 and in a year, the contribution would be N96! Still less than N100.00! In 30 years, the worker would have succeeded in contributing N2,880.00; a figure less than N3,000.00. The contribution which could only be invested in government bonds attracted 2% interest rate initially but subsequently increased to 4%. The NPF scheme was operated from 1962 to June 30, 1994 and even when in the spirit of tripartism the stakeholders pushed for its replacement, the Insurance Group would not want the workers in its payroll to benefit from it.

However, they were unable to have their way in the face of the overwhelming tripartism (Govt. as represented by the Ministry of Labour, Organised Labour, NLC and Employers, NECA) that informed the transformation of the provident fund scheme to social insurance.

Support the ECB

History again is repeating itself in 2010. Rather than appreciating the ECB and its marvelous humane Workers ‘ Compensation for the whole life span of the worker when he is injured, that singular solidarity feature has become the rock upon which all efforts by the NIA to demonize the ECB breaks.

The group’s full page advertorial of Tuesday 6th July 2010 expressed disgust with the aspect of the Employees Compensation Bill that “seeks to pay employee compensation “for the life” of the injured worker or the dependants of deceased workers notwithstanding that the employer might have made contribution in respect of that worker for only one year….”and called on the people’s representatives in the National Assembly to reject it. Apart from this solidarity feature the following are other fine distinctions between insurance claim and employees compensation claim;

“Insurance can only be made against specified forms of occurrence on the happening of which assessment would amount to little in view of its fault finding characteristics. However, claim under the Employees’ Compensation Act has no such imitation. All that is requisite under the latter is that the injury happened in the course of work.

“In insurance the sum payable is limited to the insurable value of the policy taken not necessarily to ensure that (in the case or an injured worker) the worker recover from the injury. However, under the Employees’ Compensation Bill, the scheme is to compensate the worker, follow up to see that he recovers and where he does not, rehabilitate him and where any part of his body requires artificial part support, assist him to get it. Contrarily, under the Workmen’s Compensation, where it is made is a one-off payment and thereafter to hell with the worker.

“In insurance, the cause of injury is relevant and assessed. If for instance the injury results from a negligent act not covered as one of the circumstances under which claim can be made, insurance claim for such an injury may be defeated. Mercifully, under the Employees’ Compensation Bill, the employer contributes regularly to the fund against any form of injury at work by any means. Thus, the cause of injury will not be relevant before claim for injury sustained at work and in the course of work will be assessed and paid. It is a no-fault claim.

The reader can now see that insurance scheme as opposed to compensation claim under the proposed ECB are poles apart and are roundly dissimilar. It is apt to note at this point that the provision for employer to insure the employee under the Workmen’s Compensation Act is not generic and is weak. Little wonder it is observed in the breach or total disregard by a larger majority of employers of labour.

The new ECB is a Social Security bill which has no nexus with the profit motivated private insurance. We workers are no longer available for commercialization by the Insurance Group.

Olobayo is the Corporate Affairs Manager, NSITF


13 Responses to “Nigeria, the Employee Compensation Bill”

  1. 1 CHARLES A. OKHAVHE, ESQ January 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    kindly email the electronic copy of the new Employee’s Compensation Act 2010 to my box. Thank you

  2. 2 modele January 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    The President signed the Bill into Law today, where can i download the full Act and all the details?

  3. 3 Osimini Tokoni March 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Please can you e-mail a copy of the Employee compensation act to my box? Will be very grateful thanks.

  4. 4 WALI March 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Beautiful article. Please can you email an electronic copy of the Employee Compensation Act.

  5. 5 HAMDALAT AREMU March 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    kindly sent me the electronic copy of the nigeria 2010 compensation act

  6. 6 OGUNYEMI EBENEZER March 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

    kindly mail the full act to my box, the nation;s labour force could liberated if implimented.

  7. 7 OGUNYEMI EBENEZER March 24, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The liberation shouldn’t be wrapped up in scrolls of paper, it should be accessible to any nigerian in the act of human mental & physical exercise.

  8. 8 Ganiyu Olalekan March 27, 2011 at 8:20 am

    My leg was broken by a forklift on 4th January.2010 while on duty . The leg was operated and I am still receiving treatment but I can walk with the leg and the plate in d leg will be remove b4 d end of d year. The question is am I entitle to compesation and under which act. Thanks

  9. 9 OBIOMA OLUCHUKWU PRECIOUS April 29, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Please can you e-mail a copy of the Employee Compensation Act to my box?I am a law student and I need it before next week tuesday for my studies. Will be very grateful thanks.

  10. 10 Adeyemo Oluseye Sunday May 2, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Can you please e-mail an electronic copy(PDF preferably) of the Employee compensation act to my box? Will be very grateful. Thanks.

  11. 11 Ekugbe August 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I am a research student (MILR) with the University of Lagos. I am presently doing a research on Employees compensation , so i need an electronic copy of the Employee compensation Act of 2010. Pls, i will eb very grateful if a copy is forwarded to me. thanks

  12. 12 Martin Ene Edah Esq August 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Good write up. Can I get a copy of the act sent to my mail? Thanks

  13. 13 Adekunbi Adeeko August 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Please I need a copy of the ECA. Would be very much obliged if same is sent via email. Need to start implementating it in my office. Kindly revert. Thanks.

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