COVID and Rising Workers Compensation Costs

This year’s onset of the pandemic has changed the way we live and how businesses operate. Still recovering from the impact, many companies are faced with additional challenges from rising workers claims, more time off work, and potential increases in premiums.

Now it’s more important than ever before to keep your workplace safe, clean and healthy to protect your workers and cut back on compensation costs.

What is expected for Workers and Employers*?

Your Workers must:

  • cooperate with policies and procedure that relates to health or safety
  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • as well as the health and safety of others in your workplace.

You, as an Employer must:

  • take action to protect workers at the workplace from the risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • implement public health measures issued by health authorities
  • consult with and communicate with workers and representatives on workplace measures to put in place a COVID response plan

It is also important to remember that even if your employees are working from home, it is still your responsibility as an employer to have insurance. And make sure that your workers are aware of obligations such as confidentiality and conduct safe work practices from home.

If your workers have accepted claims for COVID-19, they will have access to the same compensation entitlements such as medical and rehabilitation expenses, weekly compensation, and return to work support. You, as the employer, will be required to pay the excess.

The longer a worker is off work, the higher the claim costs rise; therefore, employers may offer suitable alternative duties during recovery if possible. However, the best defence is still having a clean and healthy workplace to keep workers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Promote hygiene practices (e.g. social distancing, work from home option, separate walkways in worksites, barriers and screens, maximum capacity in rooms)
  • Provide sufficient disinfection supplies and cleaning equipment
  • Use PPE where necessary and consider industry-specific advice for high-risk industries (e.g. aged care facilities)