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2 reasons your employer can force you to join a specific medical scheme

27 January 2021 5:23 AM

Lawyer Craig Berkowitz outlines when it is compulsory for employees to join a medical aid scheme selected by an employer.

There was a time when a person's employment package included medical aid, and this was seen as a benefit of employment.

These days, however, the contribution comes out of an employee's cost-to-company package, and there are many who would prefer to shop around for a medical aid provider so that more money can be taken home instead, but many large companies won't allow this, and they will insist that you sign up with their chosen provider.

Is your company insistent that you join their medical aid provider? How legal and fair is this practice and is there recourse should you feel strongly about not wanting to sign up with them? Refilwe Moloto speaks to specialist labour lawyer Craig Berkowitz

Many companies contribute nothing to the employee's medical aid but force them to belong to a particular scheme, notes Refilwe.

Berkowitz outlines two scenarios where it is compulsory for employees to join the medical aid scheme selected by an employer.

1. When it is included in the terms and conditions of employment

2. When the employer contributes to or pays for the medical aid.

In the first scenario where it is part of the terms and conditions of your employment, there are two types of medical aids in place. The first is what is called a closed or restricted medical aid.

Craig Berkowitz, Specialist Labour Lawyer

These are more industry-specific closed medical aids, for example, the government medical aid scheme Gems, or PolMed for police, or WoolTru for Woolworths and Truworths employers, he elaborates.

The second type is an open medical aid, available to the public in general, but is the preferred scheme of a particular company.

That is the medical aid that they want their employees to belong to.

Craig Berkowitz, Specialist Labour Lawyer

Where the employer contributes part or pays the full medical aid, the company will select the scheme for all employees, he adds.

Listen to the interview below:




27 January 2021 5:23 AM

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