Casual employees make up a fairly large portion of the Australian workforce, with over two million people employed casually. Casual workers generally are employed in temporary jobs that have irregular hours and are not guaranteed to be ongoing. Permanent workers are entitled to more benefits than casual workers. For instance, casual workers aren’t entitled to paid sick or holiday leave.
Casual employees are forced to endure job uncertainty and balancing opportunities to work full time. This can make them hesitant to exercise their rights and report workplace safety issues or injury. However, in Australia casual employees are just as entitled to workplace safety as their fulltime counterparts. Below, you will find a brief overview of casual employee workers compensation issues. If you are injured on the job, contact a lawyer today to take advantage of these rights.
Casual workers are able to file compensation claims to cover the expenses they incur after being injured at work. Though each territory has legislation and its own governing body, statutory compensation is implemented across Australia. The majority of workers are covered by the WorkCover system in their State or Territory. However, some employees of large national employers might fall under the Comcare system.
What Can Workers Compensation Coverage Provide?
If you are a casual employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness, workers compensation may provide you with: weekly benefits, medical and hospital expenses, rehabilitation services, and/or a lump sum for permanent payment. These benefits are determined by the particular compensation scheme and each government regulates said scheme in the respective state or territory.
What to do if Injured While at Work?
- See Your Doctor: If you are injured while on the job, you should seek medical attention immediately. Do not postpone medical treatment until your workers compensation claim assigns you a doctor. Instead, seek treatment from your regular physician as soon as possible.
- Report Injury to Employer: If you are injured while on the job, reporting the injury to the workplace should be done as soon as possible. Even if the injury is minor, it is still important to inform your supervisor or manager in case the injury is aggravated by further exposure to workplace conditions. You should do so in writing so as to substantiate your claim and potentially demonstrate the worsening of the condition.
- Report Injury to Representative: If you are part of a union, report the injury to your union delegate. Otherwise, report to your OH&S representative.
- Lodge a Claim with WorkCover: In the case of a minor injury, you may not need to file a WorkCover claim. However, if your injury is severe enough to impact your everyday life or affect your ability to work, then you should seek support by filing a WorkCover claim, either with your employer or directly through the WorkCover provider.
The claim form should be made available by either your employer or the Post Office and ought to be filled out with your doctor’s assistance. You could also find the forms online.
Do not sacrifice your rights as an employee for fear your temporary job will be threatened. Employers are required by law to treat you fairly and you will likely be covered in the case of a workplace injury. Contact a lawyer today if you have any questions about your workplace injury.
Employers of Casual Workers
All employers throughout the States and Territories of Australia are statutorily compelled to provide workers compensation for all workers…even temporary, or casual, ones. If you employ casual workers, then it is important for you to understand the duty that you owe to them as their employer.
Course of Employment/At Work
For an employee to recover under a work compensation claim, their injury must be incurred through the course of their employment or at work. “In the course of employment” covers a broad number of situations. Generally, when an employee is injured in the course of employment, it is “no fault” which entitled them to receive compensation even if they did not act in accordance with standard procedures set by the business. Exceptions to this would usually have to include egregious cases of misconduct.
Two Broad Categories of Compensation Payments
- Weekly Payments: payments that are made to an employee to compensate for the loss of income stemming from the work-related injury or illness
- Medical Expenses: payment to compensate for medical and/or hospital costs arising from the work-related injury or illness
Obligations as an Employer
Your obligations as an employer will differ slightly depending on where you are in the country as each state or territory determines employee rights and employer obligations based on individual legislation. As an employer, you generally have four main responsibilities:
- Provide a safe workplace so as to avoid risk of employee injury.
- Provide support and assistance in the event of employee injury.
- Ensure insurance coverage to fully cover employee in case of injury.
- Potentially aid the employee’s return to work.
If you have any question about insurance coverage for casual employees, contact a lawyer today to protect yourself, your rights, or the rights of your employees.