Grenada Workers Affected By COVID-19 Can Claim Sickness Benefit From NIS

(CMC)— The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) says it will provide assistance to people placed in isolation, quarantine or diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic nearly eight months after the virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

NIS director, Dorsett Cromwell, said that a significant number of workers have been inquiring about the rights of workers for compensation when they are requested to remain in isolation or are tested positive for the virus.

He said that the NIS had taken a closer look at the regulations and realized that individuals who are affected by an infectious disease are entitled to receive sickness benefits.

“Subject to the provisions of these regulations, sickness benefit shall be granted to an insured person who is rendered incapable of work as a result of some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement” according to the Regulations.

“And for this purpose, an insured person shall be treated as incapable of work for any day during which he or she is required to abstain from work because he or she is under observation by reason of being a carrier, or his or her having been in contact with a case of infectious disease,” it added.

Cromwell said because COVID-19 is classified as an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, insured people who are placed in isolation, quarantine or have tested positive will be compensated as guided by the NIS Act.

“We had to create a new claim form because the existing sickness claim form had to be adjusted,” said Cromwell. Individuals claiming sickness benefit because of COVID-19 will be required to have the employer sign the form but if that person is positive then a medical doctor will be required to sign the form,” he said.

Grenada Wednesday reported 35 new cases of the virus bringing the total number of positive cases here to 265 since the first case was recorded in March last year.

The Ministry of Health said that all but one of the new cases are of people with no travel history and Acting Chief medical officer, Dr Shawn Charles, said the rapid rise in cases is not unexpected as scientific data shows that cases will start off small, explode and then decrease.

“Although the numbers are rising, we still have an opportunity to manage the number of additional cases we record, but we can only do that if persons are responsible and follow the recommended protocols.

“Wear your mask or appropriate face covering in public spaces, avoid mass gatherings and wash or sanitise your hands frequently,” said Dr Charles, adding vaccination is also available as a method of protection.

“I encourage persons to utilise one of the two options we have here in Grenada. The magnitude of the pandemic has left many health care systems overwhelmed, we do not want to arrive at that point in Grenada, but our actions will determine whether or not that happens,” he added.