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Workers’ compensation: what are your rights?

Workers’ compensation: what are your rights?

As an employee, you have the right to return home from work uninjured. Sadly, workplace incidents can occur so it’s important to know what to do if you suffer a workplace injury or illness.

What is the difference between personal leave (sick leave) and workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation (WorkCover) is a form of insurance employers pay to cover employees in the event of a workplace incident or injury occurring. If you need to take time off from work to recover, WorkCover leave does not get deducted from your personal leave. When WorkCover is approved, any personal leave taken will be reimbursed. WorkCover can assist you financially with rehabilitation and return to work. It does not matter if you are full-time, part-time or casual, you are entitled to claim WorkCover if you suffer a work-related injury or illness.

The WorkCover system can provide for:

  • wages while you are not fit to work, with weekly payments calculated based on your pre-injury average weekly earnings
  • medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • the right to have a gradual return to work
  • personal leave taken prior to the Workcover claim being accepted being reimbursed

What must I do if I get injured?

 1.Ensure you seek immediate appropriate treatment if required.

2. Visit your own doctor for treatment. Disclosure to your treating medical practitioner is very important; discuss with your doctor what brought on the injury, illness or condition. Talk to your doctor about making a Workcover claim.

3. Complete an incident report

You must notify your employer in writing of your incident and injury/illness/condition within 30 days of first becoming aware of it, or you may not be entitled to compensation.

Lodging a WorkCover claim

If you wish to claim WorkCover, you will need to complete a Worker’s Injury Claim Form and Certificate of Capacity. If your GP does not have these forms, get them from an Australia Post office, the WorkSafe Victoria website or contact ANMF Member Assistance and ask for an Injured Workers Pack. The forms are in the pack.

What happens after I lodge a claim?

 Once you have provided the completed Worker’s Injury Claim Form and Certificate of Capacity to your employer, they must process your claim and provide it to their WorkCover insurer within 10 days. After they receive those forms, the employer’s insurer has 28 days to decide the outcome of your claim.

Keep copies of your WorkCover claim form, certificates of capacity and receipts of all medical expenses (e.g. doctor fees, x-rays, physiotherapy fees).

In some instances, the WorkCover insurer may arrange for you to be examined by an independent medical examiner (IME). An IME is a healthcare professional approved by WorkSafe who conducts independent medical examinations, the findings of which are used in decisions related to WorkSafe claims.

Helpful links and resources

Injured Nurses Support Group

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe Advisory Service: Phone 1800 136 089 or (03) 9641 1444

Contact ANMF if you have any questions about making a WorkCover claim or if you have any concerns about a current WorkCover claim.

This advice is general in nature. If you require more information please fill out the Member Assistance form or ANMF members can phone ANMF Information Line on 03 9275 9333 or 1800 133 353 (regional toll free).

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