Last week the NSW parliament passed WorkCover reforms that changed the regulations of worker’s compensation across the state.
From now on, workers will no longer be entitled to cover when they are travelling to and from work, and there has also been a cap of one year placed on the length of time they can receive medical payments following an incident.
Minister for finance and services Greg Pearce said that this legislation is intended to save money for both the state and small businesses, claiming that previous WorkCover policies were “costing the state up to $9 million a day”.
Mr Pearce also explained worker’s compensation is meant to encourage people to get back into employment as soon as possible, rather than support them for years and years.
“The government has a clear focus to ensure the scheme gets back to meeting its key aims – supporting injured workers through rehabilitation, getting them back to work, and remaining financially sustainable,” he asserted (June 19).
However, despite Mr Pearce’s best efforts to convince the state that these reforms are in the best interests of everyone, the laws have been met with opposition since they were put on the table.
Although they have now been passed, certain groups continue to campaign for amendments to be made, with some arguing that the reforms should be withdrawn completely.
Police are exempt from these laws but Bob Minns of the NSW police association branch told the Illawarra Mercury that he believed that this exemption should apply to everyone.
“All workers should be exempt,” he told the paper on June 26.
“Everyone should be covered to and from work – it’s just a basic principle of taking care of the workers.”
Nurses, firefighters and other emergency workers have also voiced their opposition.
However, it’s not just the emergency sector that is concerned – some major banks are calling for their employees to be exempt.
Geoff Derrick of the Finance Sector Union said (June 19): “The parliamentary inquiry recognised police as deserving exemption from the cutbacks and we reckon that bank workers should also be exempt.”
To date, WorkCover NSW is remaining quiet on the issue and has not released any official statements since June 19.
Many people may want to consider seeking external advice next time they are injured in a work related incident.