04 Jul What Is Work Injury Benefits Act (WIBA) Risk?
The Work Injury Benefits Act (WIBA) came into force in 1997. The act was established to protect employees from bearing the brunt of injuries and illnesses suffered while working for any specified employer.
Usually, WIBA comes into force when the injury or illness can be directly attributed to the working conditions in the employee’s place of work. The act considers a means of transport provided by the employer to fit within the general areas where WIBA applies.
In that case, if one is involved in an accident while riding on a company bus, such a person will be eligible for compensation under WIBA.
WIBA provides a compensatory framework for employees involved in an accident during the course of their duties. As it stands, the injury must be accidental and must be shown to be caused by factors beyond the grasp of the company or the employee.
The key point here is that WIBA comes onto play only in cases where the life-altering event is seen clearly to be accidental.
What Is WIBA Risk?
The WIBA risk refers to the liability that a company may face if its employees lodge a demand for compensation after falling ill. It also applies after an employee is involved in an accident in a place where the law holds the employer responsible for the safety of the employee.
In monetary terms, a legal WIBA payout can go as high as 96 months’ worth of pay. This type of risk is the one that employers liability insurance takes care of to shield companies from possible bankruptcy or from making huge financial loses in the event of claims lodged against it
The Act generally protects employees from the possibility of financial ruin should they be involved in an accident while handling their official duty. In the past, companies could get away without compensating employees who get sick or injured as a result of poor working conditions. Currently, the government makes the employer responsible for employee safety, hence WIBA.
For the purposes of the Act, the government considers someone an employee if they have any contractual obligations with another party in such a way that their relationship includes a consideration for work done. The act considers any agreement, verbal or otherwise, to be contractual, with the only exception being casual laborers.
For this reason, WIBA applies to all persons working for a specific employer. It is almost impossible for an employer to distance themselves from taking responsibility of the safety of those working for them under a written, verbal or implied contract.
For this reasons it is extremely important that an employer remains aware of all persons doing anything on his behalf for the purposes of WIBA.
Every company is advised to get the services of a lawyer to assess their legal exposure. Based on this advice the company should get WIBA insurance to transfer this risk.
In fact, the WIBA Act expects every employer to insure their employees under WIBA to ensure that the employees have a WIBA insurance cover in Kenya should they be injured or be incapacitated while at work.