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Changes to Workers Compensation Claims in Queensland

At GC Law we are constantly monitoring changes to the law that affect personal injury and compensation claims, particularly when it comes to workers compensation claims.

Effective from July 1st new legislation has come into force that impacts workers compensation claims in Queensland.

We have outlined below the areas that will affect you when making a claim under the Act.

If you have any questions, please call us on 1300 302 318 or chat with us via our live chat link on our web site.

New Definition of “Worker” Under the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act (the Act)

On 1 July 2013 new legislation came into force changing the definition of a “worker” for the purposes of claiming workers’ compensation in Queensland.  The new legislation aligns the worker definition with the PAYG test applied under Australian Tax Office (ATO) laws. The changes aim to help employers identify workers for the purposes of declaring wages for the calculation of their workers’ compensation premium.

The definition of a worker is set out in an amended section 11 of the Act and is “a person who works under a contract and, in relation to the work, is an employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG withholding under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth), schedule 1, part 2-5”.

The most significant change will be to injured workers who are no longer covered for workers compensation if they:-

• supply and operate their own plant or equipment as part of their contract (eg bob cat, tow trucks and taxi trucks);
• work predominately for labour only, quote for the job, provide their own tools, rectify their own defects at their own expense and employs other workers;
• have personal services business determination (PSBD) from the ATO.

An employer who incorrectly characterises a worker as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee is exposed to a number of legal risks.  The employer may:-

• be in breach of tax laws;
• be ordered to pay workers for accrued entitlements under industrial laws, awards or agreements, and to pay civil penalties for any breaches of the relevant law or instrument;
• be vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of the worker; and
• be denied indemnity by its workers’ compensation insurer for understating its wages bill.

The change to the definition of who is a worker has minimal impact on who may be entitled to workers’ compensation, so many workers engaged under an ABN may still be covered for injuries sustained in the course of their employment.

It does however give employers less opportunity to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Don’t wait till it’s too late, find out today if you are eligible to receive a significant compensation payout.

There are strict time limits set by the law for making workers compensation claims.

So if you want to know whether you can claim compensation for your work related accident, then it is important that you seek immediate legal help and advice.

You need legal advice to lodge and maximize any compensation claim, at GC Law we specialise in workers compensation claims, so call us today.

We are waiting for your call. 1 300 302 318

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