What NSW Workers Need to Know
Published on April 17, 2020 by Nadia Baker
Do NSW Workers Compensation laws cover Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Yes. Any worker in NSW who contracts the disease as a result of their work duties may have a potential claim.
What can NSW workers claim for?
Workers who contract COVID-19 may have an entitlement to claim the following:
- Payment of your reasonable medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Payment of weekly payments of compensation where you are suffering a total or partial incapacity to undertake your pre-injury work.
- A lump sum for permanent impairment and non-economic loss. This assessment cannot be made until your injuries have stabilised.
- In rarer cases, benefits such as the cost of domestic care.
Dependants of a worker who dies as a result of contracting COVID-19 at work may have an entitlement to claim the following:
- Lump sum death benefit, currently $827,400 which is apportioned between any dependants who were wholly or partly dependent for support on the Worker. Where there are no dependants the lump sum is paid to the Worker’s Executor.
- Weekly compensation payments to any Dependant Children of the Worker under the age of 16 years.
- Weekly compensation payments to any Dependant Children of the Worker under the age of 21 years who is a student.
- Funeral expenses.
What if I am working from home?
In the case of workers who are working from home who contract the virus, there is potential that the exposure while working at home may be considered to be work related.
How are claims determined?
Each claim will be considered on the merits by the workers compensation insurer (insurer).
The worker must establish that the employment was a substantial contributing factor to contracting the illness.
How do I make a claim?
Urgent steps that should be taken by a worker who wants to make a claim:
- Notify the employer in writing of the incident or exposure once a worker becomes ill or is diagnosed.
- Consult a general practitioner and obtain a WorkCover NSW Certificate of Capacity.
- Lodge the WorkCover Certificate of Capacity with the employer.
Within 7 days the insurer should make a decision whether it will accept the worker’s claim on a provisional or temporary basis.
What if the insurer declines my claim?
Contact Nadia Baker at Carroll & O’Dea who will advise you regarding requesting an internal review by the insurer or commencing proceedings in the Workers Compensation Commission.
How long does the insurer have to respond to my request for an internal review?
An insurer must respond to a request for internal review within 14 days.
What is the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC)?
This is an Independent tribunal that determines workers compensation disputes.
If the claim is not resolved with the insurer, it will proceed to a hearing before an Arbitrator of the WCC.
At the hearing you would be represented by a solicitor and a barrister.
A decision of an Arbitrator may be appealed. The appeal will be determined by Presidential Members of the WCC.
How much will this cost me?
For Exempt Workers in NSW (Police Officer, Paramedic, Fire Fighters) the workers compensation insurer will pay your costs and disbursements incurred pursuing a workers compensation claim.
For Non Exempt Workers in NSW your solicitor will apply for a grant of legal assistance through the WorkCover Independent Review Office.