CHANGES TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION LEGISLATION
The Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2011 have been developed to implement amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act as recommended in the WorkCover WA 2009 Legislative Review. In response to the WorkCover Review, the West Australian Government has approved a two-stage program of reform to Workers’ Compensation Laws, which engages 34 of the 66 WorkCover Review recommendations.
Deliver changes to correct current legislative anomalies and a number of policy issues.
Development of a new Workers’ Compensation statute based on contemporary language and drafting conventions.
Following are some key changes likely to affect businesses:
Employing Family Members
The definition of a ‘worker’ has been amended. The Act previously excluded a family member who was residing in the employer’s house as being a worker.
Removal of Age Limitations
Within the state of Western Australia, employees of all ages are considered equally to compensate.
Prior to this amendment, injured workers aged 64 years or more were entitled to claim only 12 months of weekly income payments. In addition, compensation was not payable for workers who suffered noise-induced hearing loss after age 65.
Injured workers aged 65 years and older are now able to access weekly income payments under the same terms as younger workers.
The removal of the age-based limit will not operate retrospectively.
Common Law Safety Net
Legislation has been altered to ensure seriously injured workers are entitled to compensation, even if their employer is unlawfully uninsured.
New Dispute Resolution Model
A new dispute resolution system will take effect.
The timeframe for an employer to submit a Workers’ Compensation claim to an Insurer has been extended from three (3) working days to five (5) working days.
A penalty of $1,000 has been introduced and will be payable by employers who fail to meet the statutory requirement within five (5) working days.