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Workers Compensation Amendments - Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Act 2016Matthew Sakaris Posted 3 July 2017
The Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill 2016 (‘the Bill’) will shortly be debated in the Legislative Council. It was anticipated that the amendments will commence on 1 July 2017, but the passage of the Act has stalled.
By way of summary, if the Bill is passed in its current form, some of the key changes to the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (‘the Act’) will be:
- Medical practitioners will no longer need to be accredited to issue workers compensation medical certificates or s86(1)(c) certificates. Medical practitioners will only need to be accredited in order to assess whole person impairment for the purposes of the Act.
- Medical practitioners can now certify total incapacity for up to 28 days (increased from 14) without having to provide a reason why incapacity has been certified for that length of time.
- Employers will no longer need to issue a s33A notice to a worker in a prescribed form. It will be sufficient for an employer to advise a worker who informs them of an injury orally or in writing that they may have a right to make a claim for compensation in relation to the injury.
- Employers will no longer need to display a copy of the Act and the details of their insurer in the workplace and only need to appoint a return to work coordinator if they employer more than 100 workers (increased from 50).
- The entitlement to weekly payments will no longer cease at 65 years of age under s87 of the Act. Instead, the age on which the entitlement to weekly payments ceases will be tied to the Commonwealth pension age within the meaning of the Social Securities Act 1991. We note that as a result, depending on the worker’s date of birth and whether the worker is male or female, there may be differences in the age on which different worker’s entitlements cease (see s23(5A) of the Social Securities Act 1991).
- The people compensation is payable to under s67 of the Act following a work related death will be expanded to include a wholly dependent spouse and any dependent children from a previous relationship (whether the children are partially or wholly dependent) and a partially dependent spouse and their children (whether the children are partially or wholly dependent). Dependents will also no longer need to provide a death certificate with their claim
- Insurer’s will no longer need to have their licences renewed every three years. Instead, the licences will remain in force until surrendered or revoked by the Board.
There are a number of other amendments which aim to fix anomalies in the wording of the Act and are addressed to other issues, such as the membership and voting structure of the WorkCover Tasmania Board. We encourage you to consider the impact of the new laws before they come into effect.
If you have any questions or require specific advice regarding the amendments, we would be happy to assist.