Workers Compensation Changes
The Queensland Government has introduced a bill to parliament that will essentially reverse some key changes to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 introduced by the previous government in 2013. This bill, if passed, will impact workers and businesses in the following ways:
- Workers will be able to initiate common law claims irrespective of the severity of the injury. This reverses the 2013 changes which placed a threshold of 5% or greater permanent impairment (from the injury) on the ability to make this claim This change will be back dated to the January 2015. For a detailed review of the previous changes in 2013 see this paper.
- Workers who were affected by the 5% threshold between 2013 and 2015 may have some ability to seek compensation, although the details of this have not been determined.
- Prospective employers will be unable to access a worker’s Workers Compensation history – the 2013 changes allowed for this under certain circumstances.
What does this mean for business?
Essentially we are back where we were before October 2013 when the previous changes were made. There are no real changes to the statutory provisions (i.e. the workers compensation wage replacement payments and medical expenses) so the day to day claims management will stay the same.
Also any businesses that had introduced systems for accessing a prospective worker’s Workers Compensation history will need to review these.
The real changes are to the common law system and this can have a substantial impact on business and workers compensation premiums.
In future posts I will take a more in depth look at how the Common Law system works in Queensland, how it affects your premium (potentially a lot!) and how business might look to mitigate some of these effects.