HR Resource Centre

Australia’s Awards system is defined by its complexity

Ai Group’s Annotated Awards are defined by their clarity

Find out more

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 my worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 will they be able to lodge a claim for workers’ compensation?

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:

  • the type of work carried out;
  • interaction with the public;
  • any known cases of COVID-19;
  • and any other possible exposures that the worker may have had outside the workplace.  

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. 

Can a worker claim workers’ compensation if they are injured whilst working at home?  

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:

  • only allowing people to work from home if they verify they have a safe work environment;
  • specifying specific start and finishing times; and
  • not allowing working at home to involve care of a child etc.  

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:

  • provide the worker with information and support to enable them to set up their workstation as safely as possible;
  • facilitate team meetings via video conferencing to maintain team cohesion;
  • have regular one-on-one contact with workers to seek feedback about how they are coping with their working arrangements;
  • acknowledge difficulties experienced by workers who are working in a busy household;
  • be flexible about working arrangements to support their needs; and
  • recognise that workload and prioritisation may be difficult during these times.  

Additional resources to support working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in here including a Sample Working From Home Policy.

We have a pre-existing workers’ compensation claim.  The worker was back at work on modified duties, but we have now had to shut part of our workplace and we can no longer provide duties. What happens now?

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. 

Further assistance

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and resources

Ai Group is continually publishing new COVID-19 advice and resources for employers:

  • Specific HR Resource Centre and Health & Safety Resource Centre content to assist members during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
  • Dedicated COVID-19 member advice, industry news, resources and latest information can be found here.

 

Related Pages
Related Templates
Q&A / Useful Links
Back to top
 

Contact Us

If you have a general enquiry, you can give us a call or send us a message and we'll get back to you within the next 2 business days.