Following the shutdown of the airline industry due to COVID-19, Virgin Australia has recently been forced into voluntary administration. This has left over 10,000 employees with questions regarding their rights, including their workers' compensation entitlements.
Virgin Australia is a self-insurer under Comcare, the national Workers compensation scheme. As such any claim made by Virgin Australia employees is governed by the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
What happens if I already have an accepted Comcare claim and I am stood down?
If you are a government worker with an accepted Comcare claim and stood down during the COVID-19 pandemic, there should be no change to your entitlements.
However, if your employer has gone into voluntary administration, such as Virgin Australia, then the employer is required to continue to pay staff entitlements, such as superannuation and annual leave. This includes Comcare payments and Comcare medical expenses.
While there will be no change to your entitlements if you already have a right to these benefits, it may become more difficult to access them. This is because you will become a creditor of the business, and there may be other creditors with competing entitlements.
If your employer has gone into liquidation, you will again become a creditor of the business and will need to seek your entitlements from the liquidator. However, in this scenario, Comcare may take over management of your claim.
Can I make a Comcare claim if I have been stood down?
You are still entitled to make a Comcare claim for an injury sustained at work if you have been stood down from your employment regardless of whether your employer has gone into voluntary administration or liquidation. However, you must lodge a claim as soon as you are aware you have sustained an injury. For this reason, you should seek legal assistance early.