You are reading: Workers Compensation: Are you covered?
Workers Compensation: Are you covered?
WorkCover WA has been very active across various regions around Western Australia and targeting certain industries. Their primary focus is to conduct compliance checks, educate businesses in workers compensation and ensure that businesses have appropriate insurance in place to cover workplace injury and accidents.
Some key messages that Work Cover are communicating are:
- Employers in WA must have workers’ compensation insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance does not automatically renew each year
- Public liability insurance is not the same as workers’ compensation insurance
- Family members paid to work in a business must be insured
- Contractors and sub-contractors can be ‘workers’ and may require cover
- ‘Business packages’ from insurers often exclude workers’ compensation liability, so it’s important to check you have the correct cover.
WORKCOVER WA INSPECTORS
- WorkCover WA Inspectors regularly visit businesses in metropolitan and regional Western Australia to check employers have workers’ compensation insurance.
- If you are contacted by a WorkCover WA Inspector, you will be asked to produce a Certificate of Currency (issued by an approved insurer) which you are required to keep on your business premises.
- If you employ workers and do not have workers’ compensation insurance, you will be advised to obtain a policy immediately. The Inspector will also investigate the reasons why an insurance policy was not taken out.
- During the investigation, you will be asked to produce records of any remuneration you have paid to workers while uninsured.
- Failing to produce the required records, or providing false or misleading information to a WorkCover WA Inspector, can result in penalties and prosecution.
- Penalties for not holding insurance whilst employing workers apply.
Here are some essential facts to know about workers compensation in WA and your obligation as a business and employee:
WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation is financial compensation provided to workers who become injured during the course of their employment.
Workers’ compensation can include:
- Weekly payments to cover loss of earnings
- Medical and related expenses
- Lump sum payments in case of permanent impairment and/or permanent incapacity for work
- Workplace rehabilitation assistance.
Any worker who suffers a work-related injury requiring medical treatment or time off work is entitled to claim workers’ compensation.
WHY DO I NEED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE?
Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory and protects your business from the financial cost of a workers’ compensation and common law claim.
If you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you can be fined $5,000 per worker you employ while uninsured, plus you will need to pay any avoided premium.
Additionally, if an injured worker makes a claim while you are uninsured, you will be responsible for all costs associated with the claim.
Workers’ compensation and common law claims can cost in excess of $1,000,000 so it’s simply not worth the risk.
WHO DO I NEED TO COVER?
You must have workers’ compensation insurance for anyone you employ who is defined as a ‘worker’ under the Act.
- Full-time workers on a wage or salary
- Part-time, casual and seasonal workers
- Workers on commission
- Piece workers
- Working directors (optional).
A contractor or sub-contractor may also be defined as a ‘worker’ if they are engaged to do work for the purpose of your trade or business and they are paid in substance for their personal manual labour or services.
HOW DO I GET AN INSURANCE POLICY?
You can contact and engage your local Country Wide Insurance Brokers advisor who
will assist with you with the following:
- Negotiation and arrangement of suitable workers compensation cover with approved insurer(s)
- Administrative assistance in issuing wages declarations and assistance with their completion
- Adjustment and renewal of workers compensation policies
- Assist in the lodgement and ongoing management of your claims working alongside the insurers case/claims manager
- Work with your insurer to appoint a reputable rehabilitation provider to assist with return to work, injury management and other specialised services.
To learn more about Workers Compensation insurance, please contact us on (08) 6279 2300 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article refers to facts taken from the WorkCover WA Workers’ compensation essentials Employer fact sheet.