Article Category - Compensation Law By Angus Edwards 22 May 2020

The NSW Government has recently passed legislation that will make it easier for some workers to make a claim if they contract COVID-19 during the course of their employment.

Under the existing workers compensation legislation, a worker needs to establish that the injury or disease occurred or was contracted in the course of employment. This has led to a situation where proving the source of contracting COVID-19 was very difficult, if not almost impossible for some workers.

The main changes include a presumption for workers in certain prescribed employment that COVID-19 was contracted in the course of employment, and that their employment was a substantial contributing factor to contraction of the disease.

The prescribed employment included in these amendments cover a wide range of face to face workers such as:

  • The retail industry
  • The health care sector - including ambulance officers and public health employees,
  • Disability and aged care facilities,
  • Educational institutions - including pre-schools, schools and tertiary institutions,
  • Police and emergency services - including fire brigades and rural fire services,
  • Refuges, halfway houses and homeless shelters,
  • Passenger transport services,
  • Libraries,
  • Courts and tribunals,
  • Correctional centres and detention centres,
  • Restaurants, clubs, and hotels,
  • The construction industry,
  • Places of public entertainment or instruction - including cinemas, museums, galleries, cultural institutions, and casinos,
  • The cleaning industry, and
  • Any other type of employment prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

The amendment to the legislation provides clarity for many workers who have contracted COVID-19 and have faced difficulties in proving how it was contracted. The amendments will provide some degree of security that they can receive weekly payments of compensation and medical expenses, if they contract COVID-19.

For any workers not covered by the changes, they will still have the right to claim, but the onus will rest with them to establish that they contracted COVID-19 in the course of their employment.

If you have any questions or need advice about your rights and entitlements, please call one of our experienced compensation team in Bathurst, Lithgow or Oberon on 1800 650 656. We're here to help!

Angus Edwards | Principal