Major changes coming to Worker’s Compensation laws in WA

On 1 July 2024, WorkCover WA will launch major legislative changes that will affect employers across the state.

The new Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023 is an exhaustive update and modernisation of the existing rules.

Under the new legislation, employers will be held to higher standards, with increased fines for non-compliance. However, these changes also bring benefits such as higher caps on medical expenses and easier access to provisional payments for deferred liability claims.

For a comprehensive understanding of the key changes, we encourage you to visit the WorkCover WA website or contact us directly.

Update to Workers Compensation Laws in WA 2024

Summary of changes to Workers Compensation Laws in WA

  • Employers will now have 7 days to send claim forms and medical certificates to insurers or face a $5000 fine. (Previously, this was 5 days + $1000 fine.)
  • If an insurance company delays a decision, they must start provisional payments within 28 days, incorporating wages, medical costs and compensation. Back payments start from the date of injury, and insurers must decide on a claim within 120 days. If not, liability will be deemed accepted.
  • Workers will no longer be required to report their injuries immediately. However, they must do so within a year.
  • Medical expense coverage is rising from 30% to 60%. Airborne emergency medical transport will now be covered.
  • Workers’ income compensation payments are being extended, and they will now step down after 26 not 13 weeks. Income compensation will be based on 12 months of earnings, meaning workers will earn at least their basic salary. Annual leave can be used simultaneously alongside income compensation.
  • Psychological injuries arising from formal administrative actions are now excluded unless the action is deemed harsh/unfair. In these cases, thorough documentation of administrative action will become necessary, as will having adequate policies and procedures in place. For example, allowing your employee to have a support person present at the appropriate times.
  • Contractors will still be covered as workers unless they are performing work during OR incidental to a trade OR business regularly carried out by them in their own OR the business’s name.
  • Under the Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme, catastrophically injured workers may now be able to receive lifetime care and support in the same way as those who are catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Employers will no longer be allowed to accompany injured workers to medical exams. However, they can attend return-to-work meetings, which will be mandatory for workers, even if they are unfit to work.
  • Asking if a person has had any past workers’ compensation claims when hiring will no longer be allowed, with hefty fines in place for employers who break the rules.
  • New rules will apply to disability workers and NDIS participants. NDIS participants will only be deemed the employer if they engage a disability worker through a self-managed fund.

What this means for employers

With employers being given greater responsibility, it is crucial to recognize your role in ensuring you have adequate cover in place. Your commitment to workers’ compensation insurance, which is mandatory for any Australian business that employs people, no matter its size or industry, is a testament to your dedication to your workforce’s wellbeing.

Investing in employee safety and protocols around employee safety is critical. Review your policies regularly to ensure they are still relevant and fit for purpose, and wherever possible, support your injured workers in returning to work when they can.

Early intervention matters

Early intervention injury management providers can act as your strategic partner in navigating WorkCover claims, which can be a worthwhile investment. By managing communications between all parties, including coordinating all treatment plans and reports, a claims coordinator can free you up to focus on your core business, while ensuring the best outcomes for your employees.

Using a claims coordinator can also:

  • Improve injury recovery timeframes
  • Reduce claim costs
  • Reduce work absence duration
  • Identify risks and avoid chronic injuries
  • Enhance workplace culture

As always, we are here to help. Talk to us today.

About David White

David has over 35 years of insurance experience, all as an Insurance Broker. Over his career, David has established a reputation for dedicated client focus, attention to detail and innovative insurance placement solutions.

Joining Phoenix in 2015 David brought significant international and local broker management experience to the Phoenix team and was appointed Managing Director in 2018. David is an owner of Phoenix Insurance Broker and provides a unique blend of leadership, insurance and general business skills along with the strong belief in teamwork and family that drives Phoenix forward.

Please contact Phoenix Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd today to discuss your Insurance needs.