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Know your rights- COVID and workers comp
If you get COVID at work, you may not be aware that you can make a claim for workers compensation.
On 14 May 2020, the NSW Parliament passed an amendment to the
Workers Compensation Act
making it easier for certain types of employment to establish the link between work and contracting COVID-19.
A new section in the Act states that workers with COVID-19 who work in certain types of employment will be presumed to have contracted the virus at work or while working.
This applies to health sector employees, including Junior Medical Officers, Career Medical Officers and Staff Specialists.
What do I need to do to lodge a claim?
You will need to contact your GP prior to lodging a workers compensation claim. Your GP will need to provide you with a workers compensation certificate and diagnosis. You must then notify your local management about this workers compensation claim as soon as possible after obtaining this information. Your local manager must lodge the workers compensation claim on your behalf.
These provisions do not apply if there is evidence that proves that you contracted COVID-19 outside of work. Therefore, when lodging a claim for alleged work-related COVID-19, evidence continues to be required to confirm both the diagnosis and how the diagnosis is related to work.
This evidence can include a certificate of capacity and diagnosis from your treating GP, alongside documentation (such as your roster) that proves you were working during the virus’ incubation period.
Your employer may provide evidence that work was not the main contributing factor for your COVID-19 infection. This evidence may be produced to rebut the presumption of liability under the
Workers Compensation Act
Please let us know if your employer tries to do this.
Why make a workers compensation claim instead of using leave?
Workers’ compensation can provide lost income arising from the management of COVID-19 related illness. For example, if you need more time off (than what COVID special leave provides) due to long covid, you can make a Workers Compensation claim.
A Workers Compensation claim may be preferable if you exhaust special leave entitlements provided by NSW Health and/or other non-government hospitals/health services. This will ensure that you are guaranteed flexibility and reasonable adjustments to support COVID-19 related illness.
As a successful Workers Compensation claim ensures that COVID-19 is classified as a work-related illness, your employer will be obliged to accommodate any impacts on your capacity to work arising from COVID-19. You will also be guaranteed compensation for time off related to the management of this illness.
How much will you get paid after making a workers compensation claim?
The following advice is general in nature. Please contact us if you need information about your individual entitlements and circumstance.
Each employee may be paid differently under the workers compensation scheme. These differences of pay arise from your certified capacity to work and your normal weekly earnings (that you received prior to taking workers compensation).
The amount of pay received also changes across the length of time that you are on workers compensation payments. See
‘how weekly payments are calculated’
If your injury means you can’t work for a period of time, you could be paid up to 95 per cent of
your pre-injury average weekly earnings
(PIAWE) for a set period of time (13 weeks).
The amount you receive is either based on your weekly earnings and received non-monetary benefits before the injury – including any overtime and shift allowances for the first 52 weeks – or a maximum weekly compensation amount.
The maximum weekly amount that you can receive under workers compensation is currently $2,341.80. This rate is indexed on 1 April and 1 October. You will receive a maximum weekly compensation amount (instead of PIAWE) if 95% of your pre-injury weekly earnings exceeds this maximum.
Please note that Staff Specialists may be entitled under the Staff Specialists Award to receive compensation from NSW Health with respect to the shortfall between the maximum weekly amount and their normal rate of full pay. Please contact ASMOF if you need further information about this
NB: Advice has been sourced from:
. Please review the icare (the state government’s insurer) website for further information about presumed liability for COVID-19 related illness.
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