COVID-19 and Workers Compensation for Aged Care and Private Sector Workers
Under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the Act), there are several steps you will need to ensure you follow, and that your employer also follows:
To make a claim:
- you must be diagnosed with COVID-19, and your treating practitioner supplies you with an Initial Workers Compensation Medical Certificate regarding this
- your employment must have contributed to a substantial degree. You should provide evidence of pathology testing confirming your diagnosis, how your diagnosis is linked to your work, and you must notify your employer as soon as possible.
When you notify your employer, they must under s33A of the Act, provide you with a notice of the right to make a claim for compensation. An example of the form is found here.
Your claim is not considered lodged until you provide both your initial Workers Compensation Medical Certificate and completed claim form (which can be found by clicking here).
In Tasmania, compensation payments are commenced on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, which means you have immediate access to income and medical and other expenses up to $5000
Your employer can dispute your claim within the first 84 days, and if they do not, it is then taken that they have accepted liability for the claim. If you lodge a claim and it is disputed, please get in touch with us immediately.
Even if you do not feel too unwell and have a positive diagnosis for Covid-19, we still urge you to lodge a workers compensation claim, as unless you provide notice of injury as soon as possible, and then make a claim within 6 months of the infection occurring, you will not have access to compensation. If you do feel unwell, it is important to lodge your completed claim as soon as possible, as backdating (to recredit personal leave or pay compensation) to the date of infection only occurs if the claim is lodged within 14 days.
In addition, Tasmanian workers may be eligible for a $1,500 lump sum payment if they cannot earn an income because they are required to self-isolate or quarantine. If an individual is instructed by a health official to stay home from work because they have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, and they have used up all their sick leave entitlements, including any special pandemic leave, they may be eligible to make a claim. Information regarding this lump sum can be found here.
Hopefully, as a community, we all do what we can to lessen the spread, but in the event that further outbreaks occur, it is important that you know your rights and obligations with regard to Workers Compensation. We do not know the possible long-term health effects, and if you do contract COVID-19 it is vital that you have ensured future you is protected.
Updates correct as at 1 December 2020.
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary