Over the past several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has truly impacted every aspect of our lives. Amidst the global health crisis, Australia's health care workers have been on the front line keeping citizens safe. Of course, their profession also puts them at the most risk of contracting COVID-19 themselves.
This has made for much confusion about how health care professionals can receive workers' compensation if they contract COVID-19 on the job. Here's what's making the latest headlines on the matter.
ABC News recently reported that some health care workers are going to work with symptoms of COVID-19 because they are unable to take sick leave or apply for workers' compensation. This expands beyond health care workers in hospitals and physician offices and also includes a number of professionals in aged care and disability services.
The news outlet explained that while the State Government of NSW has announced a plan to provide a $1,500 hardship payment for individuals ordered by health officials to self-quarantine, this is still not enough for those on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic.
The government has already taken steps to make workers' compensation benefits more accessible to health care workers. In May, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the government was closing a loophole so workers didn't need to prove they contracted the virus at work to receive compensation. While this is a move in the right direction, ABC still found that health workers were unable to take time off while waiting for test results and are subsequently still going to work.
This disconnect in the health care landscape between getting tested for COVID-19 and being eligible for workers' comp is not beneficial for public health. ABC highlighted the recent outbreaks in Newmarch in NSW due to health care workers continuing to go to work with virus symptoms because they were not financially able to take time off while being tested. In the coming months, it will be interesting to see how the government addresses these concerns and any future changes that will be made to workers' compensation in the country.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a work-related accident or injury and believe you are entitled to workers' compensation, Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to receive help filing a claim.