{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research and forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports and data Inspiring Australia's building professionals HOUSING The only place to get your industry news Newsroom
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host an HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder and manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies and tool insurance Paperwork gone digital Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HR Docs SafeScan - managing workplace safety Planning and safety services Building and planning services How can HIA Safety help you? Independent site inspections Trusted legal support Legal advice and guidance Professional services Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials and products Concrete, bricks and walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Hear what our apprentices say Advice for parents and guardians Study with us Find a course Get your builder's licence Qualifications Learn with HIA
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Mates Rates What we do Mental health program Charitable Foundation GreenSmart
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Australian Housing Awards Awards program National Conference Industry networking Events
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Products Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping and delivery Purchasing terms & conditions
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faTimes
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Address
Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Workers Compensation in a COVID-19 world

HIA has developed some guidance to assist members understand the potential impacts of COVID-19 on workers compensation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people’s lives, the risk of infection in the workplace and how this is, or is not, captured by existing worker’s compensation requirements, is a matter governments are considering.

In recent weeks there has been some direction provided however it is expected that more information will become available over the coming months.

The following information may assist members to understand the potential implications for worker’s compensation from COVID-19 in the workplace.

If I contract COVID-19 at work will I have an entitlement to compensation?

Workers’ compensation arrangements differ across the country, however there are common threshold requirements that would apply in the case of COVID-19 including:

  • that the worker is covered by the scheme, either as an employee or a deemed worker, 
  • that they have an injury, illness or disease of a kind covered by the scheme, and 
  • that their injury, illness or disease arose out of, or in the course of, their employment.

Compared to work-related physical or mental injuries, it is more difficult to prove that a disease was contracted in, or caused by, attendance at a particular workplace. In the case of a virus such as COVID-19, establishing the time and place of contraction may become increasingly hard.

Whether a claim for workers’ compensation for contracting COVID-19 is accepted will be a matter for the relevant workers’ compensation authority, applying their jurisdictions’ workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation authorities will consider each claim on its merits, with regard to the individual circumstances and evidence.

HIA is aware that there have been a number of successful workers compensation claims made on the basis of either contracting COVID-19 or suffering mental illness as a result of the pandemic.

What changes have been made in NSW?

On 14 May NSW amended its worker’s compensation arrangements to identify COVID-19 as an occupational disease for workers compensation purposes. This means that if a worker, who works in the construction industry (amongst a list of other prescribed industries), contracts COVID-19 or is taken to have contracted COVID-19 the worker is entitled to make a workers compensation claim. Such claims can be made even if the disease was contracted prior to the change being made.

These amendments mean that unless proved otherwise, it is presumed that COVID was contracted by the worker in the course of their employment and that their employment was a substantial or main contributing factor to contracting the disease.

How can I keep my workers safe?

Implementing measures on-site and in indoor workplaces that comply with the COVID-19 health and hygiene requirements is a crucial part of keeping your workers safe from COVID-19 and stopping and slowing the spread.

HIA recommends businesses seek the support of staff to download the COVIDSafe app to assist them to in keeping a personal record of their movements during the working day.

Businesses should also continue to apply the HIA Making space on site guidelines relevant to the type of work you do and continue to require any person entering your building sites complete the HIA Safescan COVID-19 Site induction.

HIA also recommends businesses use the Making space on site Guide for a COVID-19 safe workplace to help identify the steps necessary to protect your workers in off-site roles and support everyone safely return to the office, the construction site, factory or the showroom.

Interaction of Workers Compensation and JobKeeper Payments

Is an employee on workers compensation entitled to JobKeeper Payments?

If your employee is fully compensated by workers compensation payments, i.e. they are fully incapacitated and unable to work, they will not be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment if the business is eligible for this wage subsidy.

However in cases were the employer has an obligation to pay some component of their employees’ wages in addition to workers compensation payments, the employee will then be eligible for JobKeeper payments.

Will JobKeeper payments be considered as part of the wage calculations for workers compensation premiums?

Given that workers compensation premiums are calculated based on the wages paid to employees, all states and territories, apart from the ACT, have announced that any Jobkeeper payments will not affect premium calculations.

Outlined below are a number of scenarios involving the JobKeeper payments and how they interact with the workers compensation system.

  Worker ‘stood down’ and receiving $1,500 JobKeeper Payment Working earning more than $1,500 per fortnight.   Worker at work and earning $1,500 per fortnight. Worker earning less than $1,500 per fortnight and their wages are ‘topped up’.
 Example: Workers earn no wages  Example: Worker earns $2,500 per fortnight, $1,500 of which is subsidised by JobKeeper  Example: Worker earns $1,500 per fortnight subsidies by JobKeeper  Example: Worker earns $500 per fortnight but receives a ‘top up’ payment of $1,000 to reach the $1,500 payment.
 VIC  You are not required to report these payments to the insurer.  $2,500 declarable as wages  $1,500 declarable as wages $500 declarable as wages
 QLD
 WA
 TAS
 NSW
 SA
 NT
 ACT  At 20 May the Regulator had not provided any formal guidance as such the Insurance Council of Australia has recommended that the WA approach be adopted.

 

If you have any further questions or concerns contact a HIA Workplace Adviser on 1300 650 620 or email enquiry@hia.com.au

Share with your network:

More articles on:

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Find guides, how-tos, resources and more

Business support


 

Supporting building professionals with custom built services and products.

  • Legal support
  • Contracts Online
  • Host an HIA apprentice
  • Insurance services
  • Managing safety

Explore Business support

Building it right topics


 

Can’t find what you need, check out other resources that might be closer to the mark.