The ongoing tough climate for Australian jobs creates a difficult situation for any worker made redundant. Yet, these difficulties are magnified for workers who have been injured at work and suffer ongoing restrictions.
What happens if I am made redundant while on WorkCover?
Many people are not aware that even if a worker has been laid off, WorkCover entitlements continue. If an injured worker has a partial capacity for work, but light duties are no longer available due to the redundancy, the worker may be able to obtain WorkCover weekly payments for a period up to 130 weeks.
Will I be targeted by my employer for redundancy if I put in a WorkCover claim?
Many workers worry about a WorkCover claim affecting their employment prospects - not only with their current employers, but also future employers.
The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic) deals with discrimination in the context of a workplace injury. It is an offence for an employer or prospective employer to discriminate for a'prohibited reason', such as a previously made WorkCover claim.
Can I lodge a claim if I no longer work where I was injured?
Section 22(2)(b) of the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 states that a claim is not deemed to have been made if it was made after the worker is no longer employed by that employer.
However, if there are'special circumstances', this can be waived so that the claim can be accepted. 'Special circumstances' is interpreted very generously, and can include not being aware of the severity of the injury; concerns over job security, and ignorance of WorkCover requirements.
Having a claim accepted under these circumstances can be challenging, so we encourage all injured workers to lodge their claim as soon as possible.
Can I resign while on WorkCover?
Some of our clients ask us if they can resign from their employer while receiving weekly payments. Section 185 of the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 allows for an insurer not to alter weekly payments, or not to pay compensation of weekly payments if a worker resigns.
This is a discretionary power of the insurer, and prior to resigning from employment, you should seek legal advice.
What happens if I am fired while on WorkCover?
If a person is terminated for misconduct whilst on WorkCover, a discretion exists not to pay compensation. Normal employment law applies to the termination for misconduct, and the insurer may or may not choose to alter your entitlement to weekly payments.
Every employee is entitled to the protection of a WorkCover claim. This includes ordinary employees, contractors, couriers and volunteers.
An employer cannot terminate an employee's employment because of a WorkCover claim. The WorkCover laws protect injured workers by making it an offence to:
- not plan for returning an injured worker to work in suitable duties; or
- discriminate against an injured worker in any way.
If you would like more information about employment status and entitlements, contact our office on (03) 9321 9988 for receive free advice.