Workers compensation – insurance and risk issues from COVID-19

Workers Compensation covers injury to an employee in the course of their employment. There is a statutory obligation across states and territories for employers to have this cover.

Under most State and Territory legislation, ‘Injury’ extends to ‘disease’ and employers must take steps to protect workers from same.

Employers should communicate safe work practices including its response to COVID-19. Employers who do not do so, may fail to discharge their obligation to manage the health and safety of any worker who contracts COVID-19.

Steps to take
  1. Develop and continually communicate to staff, and or make visible to staff, the pandemic plan. Some helpful resources include:

  2. Note the guidance from Safe Work Australia by industry for those who cannot work from home.

  3. As regards premium relief:

    • Premiums are calculated on estimated wages adjusted annually. However, there is the ability to adjust premiums mid-term where there has been a significant change to the business.

    • If the wage roll has changed as a result of COVID19 amending your wage declaration ought to provide some premium relief.

    • Consideration should be prioritising this activity particularly where workers compensation premium is a large proportion of your overall insurance costs.

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