If a business has one or more employees, then Workers’ Compensation is a legal requirement in Australia. This type of insurance covers employees against work related injuries or illnesses, providing them with benefits that cover medical and hospital bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and compensation for permanent injuries.
Who can apply for Workers’ Compensation?
To apply for Workers’ Compensation an employee must be full-time, part-time, casual or an apprentice. They must have a diagnosed work related injury or illness, resulting in a financial loss and the employer must carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
How does Workers’ Compensation operate?
There are various differences in how Workers’ Compensation operates across Australia. To receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, an employee must report their injuries or illness as soon as possible to their employer, usually within six months of it occurring. This reporting period can be extended to three years, but only in cases where there is reasonable cause for not reporting it earlier.
To apply for Workers’ Compensation, an employee must visit an approved healthcare practitioner and obtain a medical report that needs to be submitted with their claim. The employer should provide the employee with the appropriate forms that need to be completed, as well as how to submit the claim. They should also provide the employee with the contact details for their business’s insurance company.
Once the employee has obtained the medical report and the forms are completed correctly, they need to submit them to the employer’s insurance company. Their claim will be assessed by the employer’s insurance company and once approved, they will begin to receive their entitled benefits. These include two thirds of their wages while they cannot work, as well as medical and rehabilitation costs, if required.
What happens if employees don’t report their injuries immediately?
Unless there are extenuating circumstances preventing an employee from reporting their illness or injury immediately to their employer, late reporting can result in a rejection of benefits. This is because the injuries or illness could have occurred elsewhere and might have nothing to do with their work. As an example, if an employee suffers a small injury on Friday afternoon at work, but waits until early Monday morning to report this injury, simply because they thought it would fix itself over the weekend, who’s to say that it didn’t happen at footy on Saturday?
This is why it’s vital that employees report all injuries or illnesses immediately to their employer to ensure that they receive their entitled benefits. To further back up their claims, they also need to seek medical assistance as soon as possible, as this significantly substantiates their claim.
What about when employees are ready to return to work?
When an employee’s medical practitioner allows them to return to work, they can return to a full time schedule, limited duties or reduced hours, it all depends on the instructions from their medical professional. The employer is required to help these employees transition back into full time work, and also to provide safety training, if required, to prevent the occurrence of similar injuries.
If you are an employer but haven’t taken out Workers’ Compensation Insurance or are considering taking on an employee, you need Workers’ Compensation Insurance ASAP. To cover yourself today, talk to one of our insurance specialists.
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