What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Within the country of Australia, workers compensation law defines the regulations pertaining to employer liability for all injuries and illnesses suffered by employees while at the workplace.
Workers Compensation Law History
Workers’ compensation in the country of Australia came into existence in the late 1800s and early 1900s because of a rise in influential labour movements. Here are some additional facts about it:
Prior to the implementation of workers compensation law, injured workers had no other choice but to sue their employer in a court of law based on traditional British laws and regulations.
The premise behind workers compensation law is that if an employer profits from labour, then said employer should be responsible for bearing the costs of injuries sustained during the performance of labour.
Workers compensation law in Australia is practiced on a “no fault” basis. This means that employees don’t have to prove that they weren’t negligent in their duties to win a compensation claim. However, this does not mean that employees can get away with inflicting harm on themselves.
The optimal scenario with any workers compensation claim is that the employee eventually recovers and returns to work. The compensation is thus meant to be temporary, though it can at times become permanent for those conditions that cannot easily be resolved.
Workers Compensation By Territory/State
All Australian states and territories offer and manage their own workers compensation systems through the following agencies:
Australian Capital Territory: Work Safe Act
New South Wales: Work Cover NSW
Northern Territory: NT Work Safe
Queensland: The Workers’ Compensation Regulator (formerly Q-COMP)
South Australia: WorkCover SA
Tasmania: WorkCover Tasmania
Victoria: WorkSafe Victoria
Western Australia: WorkCover WA
When filing a claim, one must contact the appropriate agency.
What Workers Compensation Provides
The goal of workers compensation is to cover all medical costs to injured workers AND also provide temporary to long-term income replacement. Note that it only covers 90% of the Australian workforce. Self-employed workers and independent contractors are not covered by this policy.
Below are additional conditions that must be met by employees:
- A qualified medical practitioner must identify the illness or condition and state that said condition arose due to work conditions.
- The employee must have either accrued medical costs or suffered a loss of income of some type.
- The illness or condition cannot be non-tangible, such as feeling emotional distress over perceived discrimination. Such cases are not affiliated with workers compensation.
- The notice of injury must be submitted to the employee’s employer before the employee exits the premises. Failing to do this could result in a denied workers compensation claim.
- The official claim must be filed with the appropriate agency within six months maximum of the date of the injury.
After the claim has been processed and approved, the employer must start making weekly compensation contributions, even if he or she deems the required contributions unfair and decides to dispute it. The employer must also start making payments up to $5000 toward medical expenses.
The actual weekly compensation contribution is usually determined by the employee’s ordinary weekly pay rate. However, there is also a formula in effect for those situations where an employee worked multiple jobs prior to being injured.
Employers reserve the right to dispute claims by an employee. To win a dispute, the employer must prove one of the following:
- That the workers claim filed was completely fraudulent.
- That the worker based his or her claim on incorrect or exaggerated information.
- That the worker purposefully and willfully set himself to get injured for the purpose of taking money from the employer.
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