The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 provides for important workmen’s rights
This has been amended by Labour Laws (Amendment) Act 1972 and by Act of 1986 which has introduced some important changes. Schedules I and IV have been substituted and list of injuries and amounts of compensation have been revised and increased to provide substantial benefits to workmen.
There has been further amendment by Labour Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 1994, and now workmen are covered by Act. Schedule II to Act gives definition of “workmen” as being same under Industrial Relations Ordinance, 2002. Act provides for payment of compensation by employer to his workmen injured during course of employment.
Compensation allowed by Act ranges between lump sum amount of Rs. 100 and Rs. 200,000 according to nature of injury and wages drawn by workmen concerned at time of receiving injury. Half-monthly payments at specified rates are payable in cases of temporary disablement for maximum period of five years.
The Act also lays down circumstances when employer will not be liable to compensate an injured workman.
Injuries have been defined under the Act to be mainly of the following kinds: (1) Injuries resulting in death of a workman; (2) permanent total disablement; (3) temporary total disablement; (4) permanent partial disablement; (5) temporary partial disablement.
Schedule I to Act gives list of injuries, a combination of two or more of which may constitute total disablement within meaning of Act. Loss of a limb or member of the body, is to be compensated according to the percentage loss of earning capacity as indicated in Schedule I.
List of diseases is given in Act which are recognized as occupational diseases.
Besides laying down provisions as to method of calculating compensation, the Act provides details for payment of compensation to survivors in case of death of a workman resulting from injury received during employment.
Commissioners have been appointed under Chapter III of Act to entertain claims for compensation against employer from injured workmen. Commissioners’ powers, procedure to be observed before them and provisions for appeals against decisions made by them are also laid down in this Chapter.
Under Chapter II of the Act an injured workman is required to serve notice of his claim for compensation in the prescribed manner on employer and claim before Commissioner must be made within one year of time of receiving injury or date of death as case may be.
Special provisions have been made for keeping of an up-to-date record of fatal accidents by Commissioners and duty has been cast upon employers to furnish details regarding same to Commissioners. Employer is required to send periodic returns of compensation paid to injured workmen, to appropriate authority appointed by the government concerned.
Exhaustive rules have been framed by the central government under § 32 of Act for smooth and efficient working of Act. Provincial governments observe separate rules.
Separate rules have been made by the central government for Workmen’s compensation returns and transfers of money due as compensation under Act.