Recent amendments to workers’ compensation legislation have commenced in Queensland.
All workers’ compensation provisions of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 have commenced as of 1 July 2020. They mostly apply only in relation to new claims.
The amendments include:
- extending workers’ compensation coverage to unpaid interns;
- requiring employers and insurers to provide ongoing rehabilitation and return to work services if the injured worker has been unable to return to work after their entitlement to weekly benefits and medical expenses ceases;
- requiring employers and insurers to take reasonable steps to provide support services for workers with psychiatric and psychological injuries on a without prejudice basis while their claims are being assessed;
- removing the requirement for the worker’s employment to have been the major significant contributor to a worker’s psychiatric or psychological injury;
- making the decision of an insurer not to provide support services to workers with psychiatric and psychological injuries reviewable;
- extending circumstances in which insurers have discretion to waive time requirements for lodging an application;
- replacement of dollar amounts of compensation with reference to QOTE, being the seasonally adjusted amount of Queensland full-time adult ordinary time earnings, as declared by the Australian Statistician;
- requiring self-insured employers to report injuries and payments to WorkCover;
- making provision for qualification, via accredited training, of the rehabilitation and return to work coordinators that employers must appoint under the Act;
- providing that apologies or expressions of regret by employers regarding workplace injuries are not admissible or able to be considered on the question of liability in an action for common law damages – this applies retrospectively to apologies or expressions of regret made before the commencement of these amendments.
The By Lawyers Queensland Workers’ Compensation publication has been updated accordingly.