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Workers’ compensation laws are changing

By CCIWA Editor 

The Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023, enacted in October, is a complete rewrite of the workers’ compensation legislation.

The new Act (WCIMA23) is the culmination of an extensive consultation process with key stakeholder groups and the Western Australian public. The target commencement date of the new Act is July 1, 2024 when supporting regulations and administration changes are finalised.

In a previous article, we delved into the impending workers’ compensation changes for WA, highlighting crucial aspects of the evolving landscape. 

Some key points are outlined below: 

  • WorkCover WA estimates a nearly 1% lift in the average premium rate will result from increasing the point income compensation payments drop from 13 to 26 weeks. The anticipated increase in the capped amount for medical and health expenses compensation, from 30% to 60% of the general maximum amount, is projected to result in a 0.91% rise in the average premium rate. 
  • The WCIMA23 provides for the Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme (CISS) for motor vehicle accidents to be extended to cover catastrophically injured workers who have a compensable workers’ compensation claim. The cost of injured worker participation in the CISS will be funded by an annual levy contribution by insurers and self-insurers, collected by WorkCover WA and paid to the Insurance Commission. 
  • Insurers and self-insurers will be required to respond to a worker’s claim for compensation within 14 days of receiving the claim (the same period will apply to insurers and self-insurers). If the insurer does not provide a response to the worker within the 14 days, the insurer or self-insurer will be deemed to have accepted that the employer is liable to compensate the worker and payments of compensation must be made. This includes income compensation for any incapacity. 
  • Pneumoconiosis, silicosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and diffuse pleural fibrosis – each referred to as a dust disease in the WCIMA23 – will be covered under a presumption of work injury. The WCIMA23 provides for a lump sum entitlement for permanent impairment arising from a dust disease, which is comparable to the lump sum entitlement under Schedule 5 of the 1981 Act. The entitlement is accessible if the Dust Disease Medical Panel (DDMP) determines a worker is suffering a dust disease and any impairment level has resulted from exposure to the disease. 
  • The threshold requirements for the awarding of damages will be the same as the 1981 Act: the worker’s degree of permanent whole-of-person impairment must be at least 15% and the worker must elect to retain the right to seek damages. However, the WCIMA23 clarifies the threshold requirements for the commencement of proceedings and the awarding of damages. 
  • The WCIMA23 provides for a scheme for the registration of workers’ compensation insurance brokers should it be required in the future.
  • The WCIMA23 prohibits workers being required to disclose previous workers' compensation claims to employers or their agents seeking access to claim records as part of pre-employment recruitment practices. The prohibition does not apply to information disclosure to facilitate return-to-work programs or the provision of a suitable position for workers who have an incapacity for work. 

CCIWA has a new Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Course to prepare for the necessary changes. Register here or to find out more email [email protected] or call (08) 9365 7746. 

The Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023, enacted in October, is a complete rewrite of the workers’ compensation legislation.

The new Act (WCIMA23) is the culmination of an extensive consultation process with key stakeholder groups and the Western Australian public. The target commencement date of the new Act is July 1, 2024 when supporting regulations and administration changes are finalised.

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