COMPENSATION FOR WORKERS WHO CONTRACT COVID-19
On Thursday 14 May 2020 the Covid-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 passed through both Houses of the NSW Parliament.
This Bill amends the Workers’ Compensation Act 1987 to create a presumption in favour of workers that contract Covid-19 in certain types of employment. The burden of proving how they contracted the disease is removed for these workers, and there is a presumption in their favour that they contracted the disease at work.
The workers that receive the benefit of this Amendment work in the following industries:-
- The Real Estate Industry (other than businesses providing only on-line retail)
- The Health Care Sector, including Ambulance Officers and Public Health employees. This would obviously include nurses and anyone working in a Hospital or Medical Centre.
- Disability and Aged Care facilities.
- Educational Institutions, including Pre-School, schools, tertiary institutions (other than establishments providing only on-line teaching services)
- Police and Emergency Services, including Fire Brigades and Rural Fire Services.
- Refuges, Halfway Houses and Homeless Shelters
- Passenger Transport Services
- Courts and Tribunals
- Correctional Centres and Detention Centres
- Restaurants, Clubs and Hotels
- The Construction Industry
- Places of Public Entertainment or instruction including Cinemas, Museums, Galleries, Cultural Institutions and Casinos.
- The Cleaning Industry.
- Any other type of employment prescribed by Regulation – but no Regulations have been provided at this stage.
Obviously, this list of industries cover a large number of workers in this State. Any worker that contracts Covid-19 who works in one of these prescribed industries is presumed to have contracted the disease at work, and if they have to take time off work or receive treatment, they will be covered by the Workers’ Compensation Insurer of their employer. They would not need to take time off work, on sick leave or annual leave.
Workers who contract Covid-19 in the prescribed industries would lodge a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form with their employer and the Amending Bill has detailed provisions as to the deemed date of injury that applies to workers who contract Covid-19.
Any worker who does not work in one of these industries and contracts Covid-19 in the course of their employment is also entitled to claim workers compensation benefits. Those workers should also submit a worker's compensation claim form with their employer who should then submit the claim to its insurer. However, those workers will not receive the benefit of this emergency legislation that has been passed. Those workers will have to prove more probably than not that covid-19 virus was contracted in the course of their employment.
If you, any member of your family or any of your friends need further information or advice regarding the recent amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act, or the Workers’ Compensation Legislation generally, do not hesitate to contact our Personal Injury Team here at Lamrocks.
We have Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury Law that deal with Workers’ Compensation cases. They can obtain a grant of Legal Aid from the WorkCover Independent Review Office (WIRO). Any injured worker wishing to seek our advice or assistance with a statutory compensation claim is not charged any legal fees.