In August this year, enhanced workers compensation laws in NSW were approved by Parliament. In early October, these policies will take effect, giving workers increased opportunity to receive injuries compensation as well as retaining the benefits post-retirement.
The legislative reform reflects a dedication to help injured workers receive adequate compensation following an accident. In many cases, contacting a compensation lawyer for legal advice can help ensure you are in the best position to realise these benefits.
What does the reform package contain?
The reform package for workers compensation law is comprised of two key pieces of legislation, The Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2015 and the State Insurance and Care Governance Bill 2015. These were announced in August by NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet.
“Today is a win for both injured workers and businesses across NSW,” says Mr Perrottet.
“Key elements of this package have been welcomed by a number of stakeholders, including the AMA, the NSW Business Chamber, the Law Society and the Bernie Banton Foundation.”
Combined, these bills will contribute to an added $1 million in benefits for injured workers and employers through the structural reform of Australia’s workers compensation system. This will be achieved through extended medical aid, enhanced access to these benefits as well as improved educational support for injured workers.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello has expressed his support for the reform and explained the changes in more detail.
“In August the NSW Government passed landmark reforms to the NSW workers compensation system, announcing a raft of progressive changes to benefits for injured workers,” says Mr Dominello.
“These changes help injured workers with the highest needs. They also assist those with injuries to return to work, and most importantly apply these benefits equitably for all injured workers.”
Mr Dominello also outlined the structural changes to the workers compensation system in the state. WorkCover NSW will be replaced by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, icare and the new work cover compensation organisation SafeWork NSW.
What are the benefits for injured workers?
According to the NSW government, there are key benefits for injured workers under this reform package. These include:
Lump sum payments for permanent injuries will increase.
The death benefit compensation will rise from $528,400 to $750,000.
Alongside this, cover for funeral expenses will rise from $9,000 to $15,000.
Another key change is the weekly payments after retirement age for injuries compensation. Under the new law, all employees are entitled to receive weekly compensation 12 months after reaching retirement age (67 years for those born after January 1 1957).
When can these laws be applied from?
These reforms came into effect on October 16 and further changes are expected to commence from December this year. The NSW government has expressed legislative support for injured workers, however there are still time limits that can prevent these individuals from realising these benefits.
The now defunct WorkCover NSW states that an injury claim must be made within six months of the incident. It does, however, acknowledge that certain circumstances can extend this time period to three years if the claim was not made earlier due to “some reasonable cause.” Because of these time limits, contacting a compensation lawyer as soon as possible can help ensure your claim is successful.
Do you think you are eligible for workers compensation? The personal injury compensation lawyers today to assess your legal position. Contact the team today for any questions on what the process entails and for advice on how to approach your situation.