In addition to the loss of life it has inflicted on the populace, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges of all kinds to companies in Australia and around the world. With people confined to their homes and businesses unable to operate at full capacity, there have been many financial pressures on companies. A rise in workers' compensation premiums might have added to these financial burdens in New South Wales, but has been halted by the state government.
When the NSW Government recently changed laws to make it easier for workers to file for COVID-related workers' compensation without proof of where, when or how the infection occurred, it was a victory for frontline workers. Business leaders, however, worried about a premium hike until the freeze on premiums was announced. According to the Illawarra Mercury, that decision was met with support from industry groups such as the Illawarra Business Chamber.
There was a general workers' compensation premium increase of 4% proposed for NSW companies, to take effect 1 July. Adam Zarth, executive director of the Illawarra Business Chamber told the Mercury halting that rise was the right decision. Businesses already feeling financially strained by the effects of the pandemic may have reacted to a premium hike by reducing their hiring plans.
Zarth added that when companies were polled about the 4% increase, 25% of respondents said they would not have used as many employees or work hours in the months ahead if they had been made to pay more for insurance.
The Sydney Morning Herald's initial report on the compensation changes noted businesses' concern about premium increases. Now, with that fear assuaged, the focus can be placed back on the advantages of the amendment to allow easier claims for people suffering from COVID-19. Health care workers can have some degree of peace of mind in the face of the crisis when they know that they won't have to exhaustively prove where they contracted the virus to receive compensation. At this stressful and difficult time to work in health services, any such help is important.
If you or a loved one is unable to work and you believe you have grounds for a workers' compensation claim, you can work up with experienced solicitors specialising in workers' compensation to improve your ability to receive what you are owed. Contact the legal experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners to determine your claim's chances of success and, if it should move forward, to assemble the necessary materials to have the claim upheld.