With the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has seen unprecedented numbers of employees working from home. What happens if you have an injury at home while working? Are you able to claim workers’ compensation?
The answer is yes…maybe. Let’s explore.
You will be entitled to claim for workers’ compensation benefits if:-
- you are a worker within the meaning of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, including contractors in some situations;
- you sustain injury during the course of work;
- the injury occurred in Queensland or the location of employment is within Queensland; and
- you are a subcontractor, you own a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
When you are at home inevitably you might do something that you would not normally do during the work day. If you were at work you would probably go to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, but would you go to the clothesline to hang out washing?
The relevant question is whether your injury is sustained during the course of work.
Some real world examples show that you might be able to claim workers’ compensation if:
- You are walking up or down stairs;
- Carrying heavy items needed for work, like a box of files;
- Driving between the work office and home office;
Employers owe a duty of care to their employees whether that is in the workplace, or at their home when working. To help meet this duty it would be advisable for the employee to undertaking an inspection of the home environment to ensure it is safe for work duties, and employees should report any health and safety concerns.
If you do have any injury it is important to lodge an application early. An application for compensation is valid and enforceable only if the application is lodged by you within 6 months after the entitlement to compensation arises, unless special circumstances arose to the satisfaction of WorkCover that prevented you from making the application within 6 months.
If an application is lodged more than 20 business days after the entitlement to compensation arises, the extent of WorkCover’s liability to pay compensation is limited to a period starting no earlier than 20 business days before the day on which the valid application is lodged.