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April 14 deadline for submission of returns

Workers’ Compensation Corner with MAYBIN NKHOLOMBA
AS WE move closer to April 14, 2016, the deadline for submission of statements of workers’ earnings to the Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) by all employers amenable to the Workers’ Compensation Act No. 10 of 1999 of the Laws of Zambia, the message from the Commissioner is the same as the Easter message given to Zambians by government: ‘Show unconditional love to one another and move away from vices that have the potential to destroy the nation.’
Failure to declare statements of earnings results in concealment of critical information required by the Commissioner for determination of assessments payable to WCFCB for purposes of constituting a fund out of which compensation is paid to workers in the event of contracting diseases and injuries in the course of duty.
Concealment of information is a vice which has the potential to destroy the social security system established to protect workers and their immediate families when income is lost or reduced as a result of incapacitation attributed to employment activity.
Concealment may not only result in destruction of the protection system but denial of love to one another especially those who may not be able to complete their working circle due to illness or injury. These are the people who depend on WCFCB to provide income replacement, medical care and even alternative skills to participate in social and economic activity.
Whilst we remain absolutely resolved to ‘effectively, efficiently and professionally administer a quality employment injury scheme that provides the best value of compensation to all beneficiaries,’ the vice of not submitting returns threatens achievement of this great mission.
Dear readers, ours is a noble cause which seeks to serve those of our brothers and sisters who are physically incapacitated to earn income of which they are capable, and we can only do so with total commitment by those stakeholders who are mandated by law to play a part.
Leaders in the corporate world, and I mean chief executives, directors and managers, should lead their organisations with dedication and sincerity in playing their part to ensure compliance with legal requirements in terms of submission of statements of workers’ earnings to WCFCB.
The legal requirement in Section 112 (1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act is clear and I quote for purposes of educating my readers on the significance of submission of earnings, “…every employer liable to assessment shall, before a date prescribed by the minister in each year, or if the employer becomes liable to be assessed after that date, within 14 days after having become so liable, transmit to the Commissioner a statement in the prescribed form, certified as true, showing-
(a) the amount of earnings of each of that employer’s workers during the past financial year;
(b) an estimate of the earnings for which the employer expects to become liable during the current financial year; and
(c) such other information as may be prescribed, or as the Commissioner may require from the employer in respect of that employer’s workers or their earnings.”
Submission of statements in conformity with the law facilitates accurate computation of assessments payable by employers. This is a necessary core element in the workers compensation system design which employers must learn to utilise to understand liability for assessments to WCFCB. It is in order for me to guide that failure to submit returns constitutes an offence for which an employer can be prosecuted. After April 14, 2013, we shall proceed to penalise any employer who will not have submitted returns.
The Commissioner will be compelled to arbitrarily assess any employer who will have failed to provide information in line with Section 112. And in so doing, the Commissioner will determine on behalf of the employer estimated earnings of workers for which the employer should have been liable. This, as you may conclude, will most likely be inaccurate and may result in payment of higher or lower assessments which distorts the position of the fund.
Readers may wish to note that declarations by employers must always be accurate information to avoid penalties when it is discovered that an employer under-declared. If the amount of earnings alleged to have been due and paid during any period is less than the amount actually due and paid, WCFCB imposes upon the employer who under-declared a penalty not exceeding 10 percent of the difference between the amount stated and the correct amount.
Declaration of earnings is an important exercise in the administration of the workers compensation system and employers are encouraged to take the exercise with the expected level of seriousness in order for WCFCB to fulfil its mandate of providing compensation to workers and their immediate families in the event of occupational accidents and diseases.
As WCFCB continues to reposition service delivery to meet stakeholder expectations, active participation of employers in terms of compliance will be strongly desired, and real transformation will only result from a genuine commitment to adapt the compensation system to societal values, which exert pressure to deliver quality benefits.
And from my mail box, I received the following emails which I wish to respond to: ‘I run a small lodge and would like to register my workers’- Anderson Banda. ‘When is the due date for workers compensation?’ Ansley Syanziba.
Thank you Anderson and Ansley. Please download registration forms from our website on and submit them to our office on Cairo Road in Lusaka near Kafue roundabout.
As for the due date for workers compensation, it is given in this article as April 14, 2016 for submission of returns. However, please note that you will need to pay assessments within 30 days of notification of assessment payable.
The author is corporate affairs and customer services manager at Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board; Email; Tel: 0212621283