Catastrophic injury scheme on the table
Lifetime care and support options for people who suffer a catastrophic injury from a workplace incident are now on the table.
The federal government has released a consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to canvass the cost benefit impact of the regulatory options of introducing a National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).
The RIS includes the case for introducing minimum benchmarks, retaining existing workers compensation arrangements or harmonising workers compensation schemes.
“Under the minimum benchmarks all workers will be entitled to lifetime care and support regardless of their age, and workers will not need to navigate two schemes,” according to the RIS.
“The costs of the increased entitlements would be paid by employers through increased premiums under the minimum benchmarks. Per workplace, the increase in premiums would be modest and would reflect the increased funding necessary to provide lifetime care and support.”
Under the option of retaining the existing workers compensation arrangements, workers compensation premiums would not change. “[As] a result, the incentive for employers to address workplace safety is arguably reduced,” according to the RIS.
“Governments would fund the costs of topping up the care and support levels for those who are eligible for the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme]. Workers aged 65 and over at the time of their accident would be unable to have their gaps in coverage provided by the NDIS.”
The harmonisation option is referred to in the RIS as “extremely difficult”. “To the extent that jurisdictions are able to reach agreement it would likely result in a watered down scheme where fewer workers are eligible and where eligible workers are entitled to lower service levels than occur under some existing schemes,” according to the RIS.
For more details, visit the RIS.
Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.