An investigation by WorkCover NSW has revealed that a Sydney brasserie owner withheld over $4,000 in weekly compensation payments from an injured worker, breaking their statutory obligations.
The restaurateur was taken to the Chief Industrial Magistrate’s Court, where it was revealed that payments issued by the workers compensation agent were banked by the employer.
Only $2,285 was released by the business owner to pay for immediate medical treatments – leaving $4,568 in their possession. The money was reclaimed by the court and a $3,000 fine was issued.
The injured party – a waitress at the brasserie – was granted compensation after she slipped on a wet section of floor while holding glasswear.
She received deep lacerations to her hand and was unable to return to work for a period of six months after receiving surgery.
As part of applying for injury payments, the waitress made sure to supply the relevant authorities with all the required medical information.
The court heard that the employers workers compensation scheme agent made four cheques available to the brasserie owner to distribute to the claimant – totalling $6,853.
In NSW, companies face a penalty of up to $5,500 if they fail to pass on workers compensation payments to their intended recipients.
Mary Hawkins – the director of WorkCover’s provider and injury management services – spoke on the findings of the court, saying that injured workers were entitled to weekly benefits until they were deemed fit to return to work.
She asserted: "This worker was significantly financially disadvantaged by not receiving the weekly benefit payments she was entitled to under the law".
Workplace accidents could have serious implications for both employees and their families, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reporting that the average time taken off work as a result of an injury being 4.8 weeks for women and 3.6 weeks for men.
An experienced firm of personal injury lawyers can help you explore the legal options available when deciding if a claim is viable.
Payments are made available to compensate for a variety of costs associated with an injury, including medical procedures, rehabilitation exercises and even lump sum payments in cases resulting in permanent disability.
Even if a workplace does not have insurance, the scheme may still allow for an injured worker to make a claim. Reliable advice from an accredited source – such as a trusted compensation lawyer – can help reduce the uncertainty that surrounds a worker's eligibility.