NSW Legislation Changes ? What it Means to Employers

By Vanessa Rowley, GM – WCD Workers? Compensation Solutions

The NSW Parliament passed laws this year that change the benefit structure and liability of claims. The Workers? Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2012 was passed on 22nd June 2012 with some changes taking immediate effect whilst others, such as the changes to the weekly benefits, have special provisions relating to their introduction.

Changes with immediate effect relate to:

  • Lump sum compensation;
  • Damages for nervous shock;
  • Journey claims;
  • Heart attack and stroke claims;
  • Disease injury claims;
  • Insurer licensing and transfer of claims; and
  • Savings and transitional provisions.

Transitional provisions relating to the following entitlements have been determined by the Government:

?Weekly Incapacity Payments;? All new claims with an injury date of 1st October 2012 will receive weekly benefits in line with the new provisions.? Existing seriously injured claims will enter the new payment regime from 17th September 2012 whilst all other existing claims will not attract the higher entitlements until 1st January 2013.?

It is therefore important to be aware of closure of claims or reduction of weekly benefit entitlement before that date. The most effective way to do this is by establishing a sustainable return to work either within the pre injury role or in another role within your business. Please contact your WCD consultant to discuss which of you claims may be classed as “seriously injured”.

With regard to the implementation of the remaining changes to the scheme, WorkCover NSW are working closely with insurers to create the policies, procedures and guidelines associated with the changes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Work Capacity Tests;
  • Medical expenses ? limit on payment of compensation; and
  • Return to Work Obligations

The final landscape will not be known until all amendments passed have commenced, new Regulations are released, WorkCover Guidelines and New Operational Instructions are issued to all Scheme Agents/Insurers. We anticipate a revised Estimate Manual will be forthcoming which will alter the way in which Agents are to estimate claims.

For additional detail please go to the WorkCover NSW website

Please speak with your WCD Consultant on 02 9745 1100.