No fewer than 10,000 injured workers and dependants of those that died have benefitted from the N1 billion Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in 2011, the fund has said.
The head of Claims and Compensations Department of the fund, Chris Esedebe, made this known at an interactive forum with stakeholders of the ECS in Abuja.
Esedebe said there were also 495 disability beneficiaries on the fund’s payroll as at August 2019, adding that since the inception of the scheme, NSITF has processed over 13,000 disability benefits totalling over N300 million.
He said “ordinarily by labour laws, it is the sole responsibility of the employer to cater to the needs of workers especially those that sustain injury in the course of work. They are also expected to take care of the work environment to prevent workers from sustaining injury in the course of working.
“When workers know that they will be taken care of by the scheme, they will work without inhibition which will boost national productivity and boost employer-employee relationship within the work environment.”
Also, the Deputy General Manager, Claims and Compensations Department, Nkiru Ogunnaike, noted that for a worker to benefit from the scheme, he must be an employee of an employer registered under the scheme and must have sustained the accident in the course of work.
She added that employees or employers must fill the necessary ECS forms of the accident, disease or death from the employer or employee to the nearest NSITF office within 21days.
Ogunnaike added that “this will relieve the employer of the heavy burden of solely taking care of injured worker (medical expenses refunds). It maintains the payment of compensation to the injured worker even after cessation of business by the employer.”
She also said: “In the event of death, immediate family and beneficiaries are taken care of until the last child attains the age of 21 years or graduates from university (whichever comes first). The ECS also guarantees the continued provision of shelter, education, food, etc. to survivors.”
Managing Director of Ivado Universal Options, Chukwu Onyeabor, commended the scheme for timely reimbursement of expenditure spent on rehabilitating one of his injured workers, adding that “the scheme provides rest of mind to employers because they no longer have to worry about what to do when workers sustain injury.
“The ECS makes adequate provision for the rehabilitation of not only injured workers, but also takes care of survivors of workers who die in service.
“Even when employers spent some money to treat workers, the NSITF, upon presentation of the necessary papers, reimburses such expenditure. One of my staff that sustained an injury is benefitting, while the spouse of another that died on the job is on the verge of beginning to enjoy survivor benefit.”