Workers compensation legislation passes through parliament

Published 18 Aug 2015

The NSW government has announced two new pieces of legislation that provide more financial protection for injured employees in the state.

NSW Minister for Finance Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said the Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2015 and the State Insurance and Care Governance Bill 2015 would benefit both staff and businesses.

Under the new rules, people who suffer injuries in the workplace will have better access to medical assistance. For example, aids and prosthetics will be provided for life, which could offer significant advantages for people with total and permanent disabilities (TPDs).

Employees will also receive further support when trying to return to work, while businesses that show they have a good health and safety record will receive substantial performance discounts.

Mr Perrottet said the new legislation has gained support from the Australian Medical Association, the Law Society, the Bernie Banton Foundation and the NSW Business Chamber, among other key stakeholders. The bills are expected to significantly reform the workers compensation system, while also passing on $1 billion of enhanced benefits to employees.

“It’s clear we have struck the right balance between the needs of injured workers and the businesses that support the scheme,” he explained.

TPD and income protection claims

People who are injured during the course of their employment have a range of options for financial support in NSW. Workers compensation is one avenue, but some individuals may also be eligible to make a TPD or income protection claim.

A TPD claim is for people who are unable to return to the workplace because of the severity of their injury. On the other hand, income protection is designed to provide assistance for people who are temporarily off work for a variety of reasons.

These claims can be made in addition to a workers compensation payout, meaning employees should have the financial resources to cover medical bills, care costs and lost wages if they are forced to take time away from the workplace.

The Baird-Grant government committed to worker compensation law reform at the last election, claiming it would spend every surplus dollar from sustaining the scheme on employees and businesses. The additional money will be split two-thirds to one-third respectively between the two groups.

“We are keeping our election promise and this is only made possible by a scheme in surplus,” Mr Perrottet stated. “You cannot have a fair scheme without having a financially sustainable scheme. Our system has a social heart and a commercial mind.”

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