COVID-19 has impacted and continues to impact the world as we know it. Day by day we learn more of its impact. We anticipate employers and employees may continue to feel the brunt of this impact for some time. A constant question we have been asked is “what about workers compensation claims that arise from contracting COVID-19 ?”
KEY TAKE OUTS:
- In some circumstance’s employees may be able to make a claim for a workplace injury arising from COVID-19
- Employers must ensure their policies are current and have adequate coverage for allowing employees to work from home
- If you are unsure of your obligations as an Employer, consult with Safework or iCare.
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (“SIRA”) has reported 82 claims as at March 2020 and as the impact of COVID-19 rises, so will the claims.
In some circumstance’s employees may be able to make a claim for a workplace injury arising from COVID-19 under the disease provisions of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.
To be compensated the work activities must be the main contributing factor to contracting the virus. Due to the public arena in which you may also acquire the virus from, it will be difficult to prove. However, there will be many cases that will have merit due to the lack of response by employers to ensure the workplace complies with the guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Government.
If you are unsure of your obligations as an Employer you can consult with Safework.
Successful cases may arise if you are required to travel to an area with a known COVID-19 outbreak or the work activities that you are required to undertake require you to engage and interact with people who have contracted COVID-19.
What about the work from home and liability?
There are more and more people working from home because of COVID-19 due to trying to slow the spread.
If you are required to work from home because of COVID-19 and you suffer injury you may be covered under the workers compensation scheme if you can show that work was a substantial contributing factor to an injury either physically and/or psychologically.
Employers will need to ensure their policies are current and have adequate coverage. icare have released as 16 March 2020 a fact sheet for employers. Download it here. For more information you can also visit the icare website on COVID-19.
If you need advice navigating Workers Compensation please don’t hesitate to call Karena Nicholls.
ABOUT KARENA NICHOLLS:
Karena is a partner at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers and heads up the injury compensation (with extensive knowledge in personal injury) and employment law teams. She is passionate and dedicated to helping her clients understand their rights and obligations and advising them on the best course of action to achieve their desired outcomes. It is her practical and client-orientated approach which has attributed to her authentic reputation positioning her as a highly regarded compensation and employment lawyer.
For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:
This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.