The government of New South Wales just made it easier for workers to receive compensation if they contract COVID-19 on the job. While rules regarding workers' compensation and COVID-19 have existed from the start of the pandemic, NSW is setting new groundwork for a simple application process that will help workers currently affected by the disease and create a smoother transition to reopening businesses.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on a recent amendment passed by the NSW Parliament on workers' compensation laws. While laws were previously passed to ensure employees with COVID-19 were able to receive compensation for their time out of work, they initially needed to prove they were infected with the disease at work to make a claim.
Now, nurses, paramedics, teachers and other essential workers across industries such as health, construction and retail no longer need to prove where, when or how they were infected with COVID-19 to make a workers' compensation claim.
This was met with mostly positive reactions, especially from workers on the front lines, but some are still apprehensive of this change in procedure. Some small businesses are nervous their insurance premiums would increase with an influx of workers' compensation claims. However, the NSW Parliament is ensuring that premiums will be defrayed across the entire economy instead of burdening one business with sick workers.
Ultimately, closing this loophole is in a worker's best interest and will help considerably as the country begins reopening. The Australian Government's 3-step framework for a COVIDSafe society outlines plans for reopening businesses and allowing for larger gatherings and looser travel restrictions around the country.
There's no denying that some citizens may still feel uncertain about returning to work, but by closing this loophole in the law, NSW is ensuring workers that if they contract COVID-19 they can receive workers' compensation without a hassle. Becoming ill is stressful enough, and no one should have to worry about proving where they caught a disease to receive financial help.
While NSW is the only state to make this move, it's possible that other governments will follow suit to protect those returning to work.
If you believe you or someone you love has grounds to make a workers compensation claim, contact the legal experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners today for help. Our lawyers are experts in workers' compensation and are ready to help you file a claim.