by Linda Straker
- Several individuals awaiting PCR results are workers insured with NIS
- Individuals diagnosed positive will be compensated as guided by NIS Act
- Grenada currently experiencing Covid-19 outbreak
Almost 18 months after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the management of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has begun enforcing a section of the regulations that provide for an individual who is in isolation, in quarantine or diagnosed with a positive status of the virus, to claim sickness benefit.
Director Dorsett Cromwell said that as more and more employers began inquiring about the rights of workers for compensation, when they are requested to remain in isolation or are tested positive, the management took a closer look at the regulations and realise 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,” read 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.”
Cromwell said because Covid-19 is classified as an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 insured persons 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.
Grenada is currently experiencing a Covid-19 outbreak. As of 24 August 2021, there were 44 active cases, with hundreds awaiting PCR test results. Several of those awaiting results are workers who are insured with the NIS.