COVID-19 and workers compensation
The following information has been created from some of the frequently asked questions received by the WorkSafe Tasmania helpline, relating to workers compensation claims, injury management and Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Making a claim
To make a workers compensation claim for COVID-19:
- you must be diagnosed with COVID-19 and
- your employment must have contributed to a substantial degree. You should provide evidence of pathology testing confirming your diagnosis.
You are not entitled to workers compensation in circumstances where you choose to self-isolate because you believe you may have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19, or you’ve been advised or required to self-isolate by your employer or other authority.
For comprehensive information about making a workers compensation claim visit the workers compensation section on the WorkSafe website.
If you are unable to contact your employer or their workers compensation insurer and require a claim form, please contact the WorkSafe Tasmania Helpline and they will send you a claim form.
There is a a fillable PDF version of the Workers Compensation form that can be downloaded by clicking here.
Obtaining and providing workers compensation medical certificates
A worker must continue to provide workers compensation medical certificates for any period for which they are unable to attend work due to a work-related injury or illness.
Workers should contact their treating doctor to discuss their current system for conducting medical examinations and providing medical certificates during these current circumstances.
If you are experiencing difficulty in arranging an appointment to obtain a workers compensation medical certificate, you should contact your employer or insurer to discuss options.
Return to work
An employer must keep a worker’s position available for 12 months after they became incapacitated for work following a workplace injury/illness unless:
- it is highly improbable that they will be able to perform their pre-injury role, or
- the work they were employed to do is no longer available.
If a worker’s employment is terminated while they are incapacitated for work, they should continue to provide workers compensation medical certificates and discuss ongoing obligations with the insurer. The employer is obliged to continue to make weekly payments and payment of medical and other expenses in accordance with the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.
The Act requires employers to provide suitable alternative duties unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so.
In light of the current COVID-19 situation, it may be that employers are unable to provide those duties. If this is the case, the worker and employer should contact the insurer to discuss options.
Access to rehabilitation programs
Where your treatment/injury management program involves attendance at a gym, pool or other facility currently closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, you should discuss alternatives with your doctor, employer or insurer.
Independent medical examinations
If you have been requested to attend an independent medical examination and have concerns about attending, you should contact the person who arranged the appointment.
Medical practitioners who would normally travel to Tasmania to conduct independent medical examinations must now comply with Tasmanian Border Restrictions. More information is available in the DPIPWE COVID-19 Important Information for Travellers page. For more information visit coronavirus.tas.gov.au for information on Essential Traveller categories and requirements
Medical practitioners should be guided by information or guidelines provided to them by the Medical Board/Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency about how medical examinations may be conducted during this time.
Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal
If you have or are likely to have a matter before the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal, you should contact the Tribunal directly to discuss your case and options for attendance: call (03) 61 66 4750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For workers whose questions are not answered, you are encouraged to contact your employer or their insurer.
For employers whose questions are not answered, you are encouraged to contact your insurer.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our Helpline should you have any other queries.
Updates correct as at 27 May 2020
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary