Workers compensation is a form of insurance that employers are required to take out for their workers. If an employee is injured on the job, they will usually be covered by their workers comp, allowing them to receive income replacement payments while they rest and recover from their injuries.
However, Australian workers compensation laws aren’t always as simple as they seem. Cases where injured employees have to use a commercial lawyer or legal advisor to attempt to gain workers comp are relatively common, and many employers and insurers are reluctant to approve and pay workers comp without a fight.
With this in mind, this article will provide a quick overview of workers compensation in Australia and when you’re eligible for it. Note that workers comp laws vary according to your state, so this article is intended purely as a guide.
Who Is Covered By Workers Compensation?
Basically, anyone who is employed directly by another person, business or commercial entity should be covered by workers compensation insurance. This includes people on full time, part time and casual contracts, as well as people working on piece rate or commission contracts. In some cases, contractors and subcontractors are also covered, but not always.
On the other hand, someone who works for themselves can’t cover themselves with workers compensation insurance. This applies to people like freelancers, tradespeople running a business and other self-employed people working under an ABN.
What Does Workers Compensation Entitle Me To?
If you have an accident at work, your workers compensation should cover all of the costs related to your medical expenses and recovery. You should also receive payments to cover your wages while you’re not able to work, allowing you to take your time to recover properly.
Unfortunately, many companies make it hard for their employees to claim workers compensation. If you’ve been in a serious accident which requires a significant amount of time off work to recover, it could be worth speaking with a lawyer to determine the best course of action to claim your workers comp. In some cases you may even be entitled to perpetual payouts if you receive a permanent disability or injury due to a work related accident. If this happens, it’s worth spending money on a lawyer to make sure that you’re treated fairly and in accordance with the law.
Understanding Your State’s Workers Compensation Schemes
As noted above, every state and territory in Australia has its own workers compensation scheme. In some states, workers comp insurance is run by private companies, while the state controls it in others. It’s important to understand your state’s workers compensation procedures, regardless of whether you’re an employee or an employer.
Failing to understand how workers comp works as an employer can result in you and your company not meeting legal requirements. If this happens, you could find yourself facing large non-compliance fines.
On the other hand, failing to understand workers comp as an employee can lead to you being exploited and not treated fairly if you have an accident at work. Speaking with a commercial lawyer and doing some research will help you understand the claims process and should inform you about how much workers comp you should be getting.