COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation
Maintaining a safe workplace is a significant issue for both employers and employees. This is particularly timely at the moment due to the ever-growing threat of contracting COVID-19 whilst working. This is an area in which CDQ’s specialist personal injury lawyers have been helping clients who may have an entitlement to make a claim.
State run insurance corporation, iCare, conducted a review into the impact of COVID-19 and found that workers with roles that had a greater exposure to the virus on a day-to-day basis also had the potential to experience an increase in psychological distress due to a heightened level of perceived risk.
Industries with a higher perceived level of risk include:
- Industries across the health care system
- Frontline retail workers and the supply chain
- Frontline emergency workers
- Other Government front line workers,
Changes to the NSW Workers Compensation Act have made it easier for workers in certain types of employment that involve an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 to establish that the virus was contracted in the course of their employment and employment was the main contributing factor to the injury.
Section 19B of the Act provides that workers with COVID-19 who work in the following types of employment will be presumed to have contracted the virus at work or while working:
(a) the retail industry (other than businesses providing only on-line retail),
(b) the health care sector, including ambulance officers and public health employees,
(c) disability and aged care facilities,
(d) educational institutions, including pre-schools, schools, and tertiary institutions (other than establishments providing only on-line teaching services),
(e) police and emergency services (including fire brigades and rural fire services),
(f) refuges, halfway houses, and homeless shelters,
(g) passenger transport services,
(i) courts and tribunals,
(j) correctional centres and detention centres,
(k) restaurants, clubs and hotels,
(l) the construction industry,
(m) places of public entertainment or instruction (including cinemas, museums, galleries, cultural institutions, and casinos),
(n) the cleaning industry,