These questions and answers have been written to provide information about who can make a claim and how these claims will be calculated and paid. If you have any further questions please contact the RPCA office.
A. MAKING A CLAIM
1. Who is eligible to make a claim under the Rana Plaza Claims process?
There are two groups of beneficiaries able to make a claim under the Arrangement.
- A person who was injured in the disaster and who has lost earning capacity as a result of that injury. This includes anyone who was in the Rana Plaza building at the time of collapse, rescue workers and any person who was injured in the adjacent buildings.
- A dependent of a person who was killed in, or missing as a result of, the Rana Plaza disaster (including workers, rescue workers etc) who was partially or fully reliant on the income earned by that person.
According to the rules of the Arrangement a dependent is someone who meets the following criteria:
- Children up to 25 years old (irrespective of their marital status)
- Other dependents including:
Unmarried daughter, widowed daughter, minor brother, minor sister, unmarried sister, widowed sister, widowed daughter in law, minor child of a deceased son, if his father was not alive, minor child of deceased daughter, if his father was not alive, paternal/maternal grandfather if his/her parents were not alive at the time of his death, paternal/maternal grandmother if his/her parents were not alive at the time of his death, illegitimate son and illegitimate unmarried daughter and remarried widows.
Exceptions can be made for relatives who do not qualify as dependants, if they can prove they were partially or wholly dependent on the income of the deceased at the time of their death.
2. What can you claim for?
The calculations include payments to cover a percentage of the salary of the individual killed or injured as compensation for the losses incurred by individuals as a result of the Rana Plaza collapse. These losses comprise loss of income and medical costs.
3. How do you make a claim?
The Rana Plaza Claims Administration will contact everybody who has already registered as dependents of the deceased or as an injured worker with either the government, BGMEA or other bodies to invite them to attend the RPCA office to submit their claim.
It is free to make a claim and the RPCA does not employ agents or representatives to collect claims – claimants will be contacted directly by the RPCA to arrange appointments. Those who have not been contacted but believe they have a right to make a claim can contact the RPCA hotline to arrange an appointment.
All claims must be submitted by 30th September 2014. No further claims will be considered after this date.
4. How will the Rana Plaza Claims Administration check whether your claim is eligible?
The person submitting a claim will be assisted in doing so by a team of paralegals employed by the Rana Plaza Claims Administration. They will explain what documents you need to bring to enable the claims form to be properly completed and will inform you of how your claim will be assessed.
B. CLAIMS CALCULATIONS
5. How is my claim calculated?
Claims will be calculated using a formula agreed on by the coordination committee, which will determine what level of payments claimants are entitled to based on each individual's particular circumstances. The formula is in line with international standards and is calculated to ensure payments are sufficient to provide an income for the lifetime of the beneficiary(s). There is a more detailed explanation of the formula used to calculate your claim here.
6. How much will I receive?
Claims will be calculated based on the circumstances of each individual claimant so it is not possible to give a single figure that will apply to all persons. Variables include the age of the beneficiary, the number of dependents that each claim must cover, the wage earned by the killed or injured worker and the extent of injury suffered in the case of survivors.
For example, if you are claiming as a dependent of someone killed at Rana Plaza then first the RPCA must calculate the total claim available for dependents of that worker. This will be done based on the monthly wages your relative earned at the time of collapse and the number of eligble dependent s/he had. This total claim will then be divided between each of the eligible dependents and then each final award will be calculated based on the proportion of the claim you have been allocated multiplied by the number of years you should receive this money. How much you will receive will therefore depend on a. the income of the deceased, b. the number and type of other eligible dependents and your age.
Examples of the types of claims to be submitted and the corresponding amounts can be seen in these case studies. These are illustrative examples only and can not be used as a basis for advising or predicting individual claims - this can only be done once a full claim has been submitted and processed.
7. Is there a minimum amount I should receive?
Every person who has made an eligible claim under the Arrangement has been paid an initial 50,000BDT payment. This will be provided to any new eligible claimant who has submitted their claim by the 30th September. Each claimant should also have received a relief payment of 45,000 BDT from the retailer Primark. Please contact the RPCA office if you have made a claim but not received these payments.
8. If I think there is a mistake in calculation of my award how can I get it corrected?
If you believe that your claim has been calculated too low then you can contact the RPCA and explain the mistake in your claim. You have 30 days from receiving the Notice of Award to ask for your award to be corrected
9. Why have people received different amounts from the Rana Plaza claims process?
The principle of the ILO convention is that people receive equal treatment, but this does not mean that everybody gets the same amount. Each claim will depend on the individual circumstances of the family. As we explained under question 6 there are many factors to take into account when calculating a claim and the principle of equality means that claims must be calculated to ensure they take these individual circumstances into account.
For example if a worker had 5 young dependants (e.g four children and a husband) then that family will receive a higher amount than a family where a worker only had 2 older dependants (e.g older parents) even if each worker was earning the same amount at the time of death . This way those workers who had bigger or younger families get a higher payment to account for the fact that the family will need more money for a longer amount of time if they are to maintain the same income levels they had prior to collapse.
Workers who were injured and will never be able to work again will get a higher payment than a worker whose injury may mean they cannot earn the same income, but will not prevent them from finding new employment, even if it is at a lower wage. Both of these groups of workers will receive a higher payment that those workers who have now recovered from their injuries and are now able to find an equivalent or better paid job to the one that they were employed to do at Rana Plaza.
Family members of deceased workers who were earning a high wage (managers etc) will get a higher payment as the actual financial loss they suffered was higher, even though their financial need may be less than families on a lower income.
It is important to remember that the payments are designed to compensate the actual losses suffered by families as a result of the Rana Plaza disaster. It cannot improve the financial circumstances of low wage families beyond those they were in prior to the Rana Plaza collapse; nor can it address economic inequality between lower and higher paid workers.
10. Who is paying this claim
The award is being paid by a variety of sources, most notably from the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund. This is a Fund that was set up to collect donations from companies, organisations and individuals that wished to provide support to those affected by Rana Plaza. The majority of the money has been paid by brands and retailers who were buying from one or more of the Rana Plaza factories. Money that was paid to families through the Prime Ministers Fund is also being recognised as part of the scheme, and any such payments will be offset from your final claim.
As part of the claims process you will sign to say you agree that this claim is the final payment you will receive to cover loss of income as a result of the disaster. You are free to pursue other avenues for claims to cover other losses that are not covered by this scheme (e.g pain and suffering).
11. How will my claim be paid?
When you go to the RPCA office to make your claim you will also be asked to meet with a representative of the Dutch Bangla Bank, who will assist you in opening a personal bank account. Once your claim has been calculated and approved by the Claims Commissioners and the Coordination Committee the payment will be transferred directly into this bank account. Only you will have access to this account. Should you wish to receive financial advice and support on how to make the most of this payment this service will be offered to you as part of the claims process.
12. Why have I only received part of my total payment? When will I get the rest?
It was agreed that each beneficiary would receive their payments in multiple instalments. The payments you have received so far are equivalent to up to 40% of your total claim. This allows us to make sure that everyone will receive at least 40% now, while we work to make sure all claims are properly calculated and to identify sources for new funds to cover the remaining amount.
At the moment there is not yet sufficient money in the Rana Plaza Trust Fund to pay everybody the full amount they are owed. The Coordination Committee will remain in place until all of the required Funds are collected and dispersed. We are unable to say for certain when this money will be made available, however your claim will remain valid until it is paid in full.
Will I get another payment from the Arrangement?
Your Notice of Award should explain what the RPCA have calculated is your entitlement. The payments you have already received will be taken into account as part of this claim. Therefore if your total claim has been calculated to be equal to or less than the total of payments you have already received from the Rana Plaza Arrangement and/or the Prime Minister's Fund then you are not eligible to receive any further payment from the Arrangement.
Why haven't I received anything in the first instalment, even though I am owed more money?
As explained above, the first payments instalments will equal 40% or your total claim. If you have already received payments from the Rana Plaza Arrangement and/or the Prime Minsters Fund that are equal to or greater than 40% of your total claim then you will not receive a further payment in the first round. This is to enable the Coordination Committee to ensure that every claimant is able to receive a minimum of 40% of the money they are entitled to at a time when there is still insufficient money in the Fund to pay every claim in full.
The Notice of Award will tell you how much of your claim you are still owed. You will receive this payment once there is sufficient money in the Fund, or found from other sources.