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Changes to Comcare’s workers compensation and self-insurance eligibility laws are before the federal parliament.

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 was introduced into parliament last week.

Under the Bill, Comcare will no longer pay workers compensation for injuries that occur during recess breaks away from an employer’s premises.

Nor will it pay compensation for death or serious and permanent impairment if the person killed or injured engaged in serious and wilful misconduct.

The Bill also removes the need for the Minister of Employment to declare a corporation’s eligibility to be granted a self-insurance licence. Corporations can go straight to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) to apply for the licence. Nevertheless, the Minister can still direct the SRCC.

Corporations operating in two or more jurisdictions and that meet the workers compensation obligations in these jurisdictions can apply to join the Comcare scheme. Also group licences can be granted to related corporations.

Corporations granted a self-insurance licence will also be covered under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

For more details, visit the Bill.

Published on 27 March 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Federal Government announced this week that the moratorium on private corporations seeking to become self-insurers under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme has been lifted.

The Former ALP government imposed the moratorium in 2007.

Private corporations can now submit an application to the Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz to determine if they are eligible to apply for a workers’ compensation self-insurance licence under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the Minister that they are in competition with a current or former Commonwealth authority.

The minister may also consider other factors, including the likely impact of a self-insurance licence on employees and the corporation.

If a corporation is eligible, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission will then consider the suitability of the applicant to hold a licence.

For more details, visit the Department of Employment.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

07 Nov 2013

Landmark High Court ruling

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Comcare has escaped paying workers compensation to a commonwealth public servant for injuries sustained during sex at work.

Last week the High Court ruled in favour of Comcare following an appeal against a Full Federal Court ruling that allowed workers compensation to be paid for injuries sustained during sex in a motel room on a business trip.

As reported in a previous e-bulletin, Comcare had argued that the Full Federal Court had incorrectly accepted the following proposition:

“Once you are at a place where the employer encouraged, required or induced you to be, then absent gross misconduct, any injury you suffer at the place is compensable…”

Comcare said this was an incorrect reading of the law.

It argued that an injury could only be sustained in the course of employment if the person was doing the work they were employed to do or something incidental to it. And the worker’s actions at the time of the incident didn’t fit this definition.

The High Court reserved its decision in August and handed down its ruling last week.

For more details, visit the case .

Published on 7 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Ongoing legal argument about paying workers compensation for injuries sustained during sexual intercourse at work is back in court.

Last week in the High Court, Comcare appealed against a Full Federal Court ruling that allowed workers compensation to be paid for injuries sustained during sexual intercourse in a motel room on a business trip.

The motel room had been booked and paid for by the worker’s employer.

Comcare argued that the Full Federal Court had incorrectly accepted the following proposition:

“… once you are at a place where the employer encouraged, required or induced you to be, then absent gross misconduct, any injury you suffer at the place is compensable …”

Comcare said this was an incorrect reading of the law.

It argued that an injury could only be sustained in the course of employment if the person was doing the work they were employed to do or something incidental to it. And the worker’s actions at the time of the incident didn’t fit this definition.

On hearing Comcare and the worker’s arguments the High Court reserved its decision.

For more details, visit the court transcript

Published on 15 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Woolworths Ltd has failed in its bid to stop workers compensation being paid to an employee for a psychological injury.

The Workers Compensation Commission of New South Wales (WCC) heard that the employee had attempted suicide and was admitted to hospital as an involuntary patient following a meeting about his work performance with Woolworths in May 2009.

The employee then claimed compensation for major depression. He alleged it was caused by Woolworths’ failure to provide enough support for him to do his work, and harassment and bullying.

Woolworths disputed the liability, blaming the employee’s depression on drug dependency.

The company also claimed that any aggravation of his condition was the result of reasonable employer action.

The WCC found in favour of the employee and granted compensation.

Woolworths unsuccessfully appealed this decision.

The WCC said work was a substantial contributing factor to the employee’s injury and the company’s appeal was without merit.

For immediate help, call Lifeline on  13 11 14

For more details, visit the case

Published on 1 August 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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