If I work for Uber/ Airtasker/ similar… am I covered by WorkCover?

Wednesday 24 October 2018
Grace Bowran-Burge

The nature of work has changed significantly over recent decades, with more people now engaged in non-traditional employment arrangements such as Uber, Airtasker and similar services.

As a result, the question of who is covered by WorkCover has become more complex.

The recent case of Severino v Tsaousidis [2018] VMC002 sheds some light on this issue.

The facts

The defendant, Mr Tsaousidis, offered the plaintiff, Mr Severino, work performing odd jobs on the properties he owned.

Mr Tsaousidis paid Mr Severino $100 cash for a full day’s work and $50 cash for a half day’s work. The arrangement was on a day-to-day basis and Mr Tsaousidis would let Mr Severino know each time he wanted him to work the following day. Mr Tsaousidis provided all of the equipment Mr Severino needed and showed Mr Severino how he wanted each job done.

On 20 October 2015, whilst working on Mr Tsaousidis’s roof, Mr Severino fell off a ladder onto timber decking.

Mr Severino’s WorkCover claim was rejected on the basis that he was not a “worker” as defined by WorkCover legislation.

This decision was challenged at Court.

Ruling

Magistrate Garnett found Mr Severino was a “worker” and was therefore entitled to WorkCover payments.

In reaching this decision His Honour noted the evidence of the paramedic who attended the scene. The paramedic stated she was told Mr Severino was injured “whilst working” and that other people were trying to contact “his boss.”

These factors, along with Mr Tsaousidis’s provision of materials and instructions to Mr Severino, all indicated the relationship between Mr Tsaousidis and Mr Severino was one of employer and employee.

Lessons for workers

A non-traditional employment arrangement does not automatically exclude you from WorkCover. Each relationship is different and must be examined in its totality.

If you are unsure whether you are entitled to WorkCover, contact our offices on (03) 9321 9988.

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