On 23 July 2020, the Directive for compensation of workplace-acquired novel Coronavirus disease came into effect and shall be implemented with immediate effect.


This Directive relates to employees who contract COVID-19 through the following scenarios:

  • work-related exposure;
  • exposure to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in the workplace;
  • while travelling on an official work assignment to high-risk areas or countries; or
  • while performing any duty in pursuance of the employer’s business.


The Compensation Fund, in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993, is obliged to consider certain inherent risks posed by various categories of occupations.  This Directive categorises various occupations as follows:

  1. Very high exposure risk occupations:

These occupations refer to employees with a high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, post mortem or laboratory procedures.  These employees include:

  1. Healthcare employees (i.e. doctors, nurses and dentists) performing aerosol-generating procedures on known or suspected COVID-19 patients;
  2. Healthcare or laboratory employees collecting or handling specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients;
  • Healthcare employees conducting cardio-respiratory function testing;
  1. Morgue employees performing autopsies which generally include aerosol-generating procedures on bodies known to or suspected to have COVID-19 at the time of their death.


  1. High exposure risk occupations:

These include those occupations with high potential for exposure to known or suspected COVID-19 patients, i.e.:

  1. Healthcare delivery and support employees, e.g. doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who must enter patients’ rooms exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients;
  2. Medical transport employees, e.g. ambulance personnel and porters moving known or suspected COVID-19 patients;
  • Mortuary employees involved in preparing bodies known or suspected to have COVID-19 at time of death.


  1. Medium exposure risk occupations:

These include employees that require frequent and/or close contact with people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2,  but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients.


  1. Low exposure risk occupations:

These include occupations that do not require contact with people known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 or the general public.


These categories serve only as a guide to assist employers in assessing the risk of their employees contracting COVID-19 at the workplace.  Any employee, regardless of their occupation, is entitled to claim for compensation in the event that they contract COVID-19 at the workplace.  In terms of any such claim referred, Medical Officers in the Compensation Fund shall have the authority to determine whether the diagnosis of COVID-19 was made in terms of acceptable medical standards.


Should such a claim be successful in terms of the Compensation Fund, the employee will also be able to refer a claim for any permanent impairment.  If such a claim is referred, the permanent impairment shall only be assessed three (3) months after the diagnosis was made and when Maximum Medical Improvement has been reached.  Any such impairments shall be evaluated based on the medical complications arising from the COVID-19 affected body systems.


Any employee contracting COVID-19 at the workplace will be able to claim benefits in terms of the Compensation Fund.  These benefits include:

  1. Temporary Total Disablement benefits may be claimed for as long as such disablement continues, but not for a period exceeding thirty (30) days. This period may be extended by the Commissioner after review of each case on merit, should the employee experience medical complications.  Should a case be confirmed, and the Compensation Fund accept liability, temporary total disablement benefits shall be paid from the date of diagnosis up to 30 days.
  2. Where medical complications arise, the Commissioner may review the merits of each such case to determine whether permanent disability has set in due to a COVID-19 infection. In the event that the Commissioner finds this to be the case, such an employee may claim permanent disablement benefits.
  3. The Compensation Fund shall not provide compensation for unconfirmed cases such as self-isolation and self-quarantine. In these instances, employers are to follow the Directives dealing with TERS as amended and Health and Safety in the Workplace.
  4. In confirmed cases of COVID-19, medical aid shall be provided to employees contracting the virus at the workplace for a period of up to thirty (30) days from date of diagnosis.
  5. Reasonable burial expenses, widow’s / widower’s and dependant’s pensions shall also be payable, should it be confirmed that an employee dies as a result of contracting COVID-19.


Please click here to view the full Government Directive.