Do you have a burning HR question that needs answering?
Our expert HR advice
is just a click away
Ai Group's resident expert, Tracey Browne, looks at some common workers' compensation questions we have been receiving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following content is based on information available at the time of publishing.
If a worker believes they contracted COVID-19 from work related exposure they can lodge a workers’ compensation claim.
The Insurer/Agent will investigate the claim to determine whether work was a significant contributing factor (exact words vary between jurisdictions). Key considerations will be whether there is evidence of work-related contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or whether the work being undertaken has created a likely exposure, such as working in a hospital.
Employers should provide all relevant information to the Insurer/Agent, including information about:
As is always the case with workers’ compensation claims, it is important to provide objective information that can be supported by evidence.
See the Health & Safety Resource Centre's 'Workers' compensation' area more detailed information about how claims are determined in each jurisdiction, and on supporting workers who have lodged a workers’ compensation claim.
A worker is entitled to receive workers’ compensation if they are injured out of or in the course of employment.
In most jurisdictions this includes an injury that occurs during an authorised recess. Pre-COVID-19 there have been a small number of cases that have gone to court to determine how broad this entitlement may be.
In one case a worker was entitled to compensation when they fell down the stairs; in another a teacher was entitled to compensation when they fell over a basket of books they had brought home for marking.
In all cases of a claim associated with working from home you should provide all relevant information to the Insurer/Agent about the circumstances of the injury and the nature of the work being undertaken at home.
Many of the recommendations Ai Group would make about minimising the risk of working from home are hard to apply during this difficult time, such as:
A significant risk that has been identified in these unusual times involves mental injury from isolation and unusual work requirements.
There are some key things that can be done to reduce risks during the requirement to work at home during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The specific answer to this question will depend on the circumstances of the individual claim and the specific legislation in your state/territory. In some cases, the worker will go back onto workers’ compensation payments; in other cases, it will be recognised that the absence is not related to the injury and payments will not be made.
Employers are urged to seek advice from your Insurer/Agent in relation to your specific circumstances.
For further assistance with workers' compensation or any workplace matter, Ai Group members can contact us or call the Workplace Advice Line on 1300 55 66 77.
Ai Group is continually publishing new COVID-19 advice and resources for employers: