While disclosing that there are four reported deaths among Jamaican farm workers overseas since the start of the year, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security noted that all farm workers are covered by health insurance.
Three of the deaths, it added, are linked to natural causes – two caused by heart attack and the other caused by cancer. In the fourth case, 42-year-old Jermaine Booth died in a motor vehicle accident in Canada on July 9.
The Ministry of Labour, in response to questions posed by The Beacon, said all Canadian farm workers are covered by Cowen Insurance, which is based in Canada. This company provides job and non-job-related coverage for health; the coverage extends to immediate relatives of each farm worker.
The ministry further stated that employers are registered with the Workplace Safety Insurance Brokers, which provides insurance benefits to family members of the deceased.
“Children who are below 24 and can prove that they are in pursuit of an education are financed,” the ministry added.
It further stated that, if a farm worker dies, the relatives can benefit from a number of the ministry’s programmes, including PATH (survivor benefit), and funeral grants (only in the case of farm workers who are National Insurance Scheme contributors – majority are not).
The Ministry of Labour, in the meantime, explained that there are certain standard procedures regarding the injury or death of a farm worker.
The procedure is:
- Liaison officer overseas provides a report to the ministry
- Social worker for the farm worker’s parish of residence is deployed to the homes to conduct a visit/assessment and to offer the necessary support
- Social worker facilitates the filing of claims to the insurance companies and any other social activity that must take place prior to and after burial
- A claim will have to be filed to the insurance company under which fixed insurance benefits will be issued to the family
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