The following legislative amendments have recently come into effect.Legislative changes (COVID-19)
The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 and supporting amendment regulations address a small number of priority issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The priority changes were brought forward from the current rewrite of the workers’ compensation legislation.
The amendment Act and amendment regulations:
- Establish a presumption of work-related injury for COVID-19 contracted by health care workers – see [Fact Sheet 1](155KB)
- Discontinue the common law termination day – see [Fact Sheet 2](162KB)
- Provide for a revised notice to be given to workers about common law claims – see [Fact Sheet 3](164KB)
- Provide for email service of liability decision notices to workers from insurers and self insurers – see [Fact Sheet 4](124KB)
- Provide for annual indexation of capped worker entitlements – see [Fact Sheet 5](175KB)
All changes commence on 12 October 2020, other than the revised notice to be given to workers about common law claims which commences on 16 November 2020.
The Bill and parliamentary documents can be accessed on the WA Parliament website at www.parliament.wa.gov.au. The amendment Act and supporting regulations can be found at: https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/
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.