« 100 Years – 100 Lives » | MALAWI - “Life would have been much better if I had received my compensation on time”

The ILO currently supports efforts to create an efficient employment injury scheme in Malawi so that people like Harry Dymon can get their compensation money on time.

Feature | Malawi | 16 July 2019
LILONGWE – Harry Dymon had been working for many years as a security guard in a local company when an unexpected event changed the course of his life.

“I was on duty on that 11th of November. It was around 8pm. There was an electricity outage , and it was dark. I could not clearly see. I therefore tripped into a chain and fell on my right hand side. An x-ray showed that my elbow joint had been broken,” he recalled.

Harry Dymon has not been able to work since he was injured. However, he hasn’t received any compensation package.

“Life would have been much better if I had received my compensation on time because I have been spending my own money on treatment and I have children at school and a family to provide for,” he added.

When workers are injured and cannot get compensated, the impact on them and their families can be crushing. This unfortunately traps them in a vicious circle of poverty despite working.

Extending social protection

However, people like Harry who are affected by a workplace injury should soon receive compensation thanks to efforts by the government and social partners - supported by the ILO - to establish an efficient employment injury scheme as part of wider action to extend social protection in the country.

However, the process has been made even more difficult because of the way the local economy is structured.

“The fact is that the majority of our workers are in the informal sector so it is difficult to introduce schemes in the informal sector.,” explained Hlalerwayo Nyangulu, Malawi’s Labour Commissioner.

“Another challenge is late payment processing of workers’ compensations. There is a lot of political will on the part of Government to provide the required resources,” he added.

The establishment of an employment injury scheme will benefit workers by allowing them to be compensated for injuries and disease but also through improving the work environment. This will also lead to improved productivity for the employers.

The challenge lies in developing the necessary capabilities to run a scheme at such a high standard so that it attracts both the confidence of employers and the trust of workers.

“Currently through the reform programme, and with the technical support of the ILO, we are trying to establish a compensation fund which we believe will - in the long run - graduate to a comprehensive social security scheme,” Nyangulu concluded.

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