The following legislative amendments have recently come into effect.COVID-19 Response Bill 2020
The Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Industrial Relations, introduced a Bill into Parliament on 24 June 2020 that amends the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 addresses a small number of priority issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The priority changes are brought forward from the current rewrite of the workers’ compensation legislation.
A key amendment provides for regulations to be made which establish a presumption of work-related injury for prescribed diseases contracted by workers in prescribed employment.
The Government’s priority is to ensure regulations are made, in the first instance, for health care workers who contract COVID-19.
The Bill will also facilitate electronic service of some documents, remove the arbitrary ‘termination day’ that constrains a worker’s ability to pursue common law damages, and provide for indexation of worker entitlements in regulations.
The Minister’s media statement can be accessed here:
The Bill and parliamentary documents can be accessed on the WA Parliament website at www.parliament.wa.gov.au
WorkCover WA Contact: Kevin Gillingham 9388 5640
Division 4A of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 provides for a rebuttable presumption that supports claims by firefighters employed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services who contract one of 12 specified cancers. These special arrangements came into effect on 13 November 2013.
Part 4 of the Firefighters and Emergency Volunteers Legislation Amendment (Compensation) Act 2016 came into operation on 21 January 2017 and expands the current presumption under Division 4A. The presumption now covers:
- Former firefighters employed by Department of Fire and Emergency Services;
- Current and former firefighters employed by the State such as Department of Parks and Wildlife and Forest Products Commission firefighters.
A number of amendments have been made to clarify the application of the laws to current and former State employed firefighters.
This fact sheet outlines the presumptive laws.
Regulatory amendments have changed the declaration required from workers residing outside of Western Australia and clarified aspects of the declaration process and timeframes.
Key changes include:
- a revised declaration form that is designed and structured to capture the key information requirements about the worker’s identity and capacity for work;
- removal of the requirement for the worker and medical practitioner’s signature to be witnessed by a person with authority to administer an oath;
- worker identity to be verified by the certifying medical practitioner at the time of the assessment through sighting of an official document such as a passport;
- flexibility for workers to send the declaration at any time within each 3 month period they are residing outside Western Australia;
- linking the 3 monthly intervals to the date the declaration was sent by the worker rather than its receipt by the employer/ insurer.
- flexibility for the declaration to be sent electronically, by post or in person.
To access the declaration form click here.
An Info Sheet provides further information for workers and medical practitioners about the declaration requirements.
The regulations as printed in the Government Gazette can be found here.
A new regulation has been effected which expands the definition of ‘industrial award’ in the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981:
3A. Instruments under Commonwealth laws prescribed for definition of industrial award in Act
For the purposes of paragraph (d) of the definition of industrial award in section 5(1) of the Act, the following instruments are prescribed —
- a fair work instrument as defined in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Commonwealth) section 12;
- an award-based transitional instrument as defined in the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 (Commonwealth) Schedule 2 item 2 that continues in existence under Schedule 3 Part 2 of that Act.
The regulation confirms that workers covered by Commonwealth instruments are ‘award’ workers for the purpose of calculating weekly compensation payments. This is consistent with common practice and does not have any material impact on payments made to workers.