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November 2008 Public Meeting
WorkCover – Fix It
19th November 2008
Country Comfort Motel
525 Raglan Pde
WorkCover was introduced to provide fair and just compensation for workers who were injured or developed illnesses as a result of work. The Kennett Government took away the fairness and justice. This was rejected by the Victorian people. The Labor Government promised to bring back fairness.
We want the workers’ compensation system made better in order for workers to get better and get back to work. We need to tell our politicians that it is time to deliver fair and just workers compensation.
Do you access to a computer, at home, a library or a cybernet café? Look at http://fixworkcover.org and send a letter off to the ALP parliamentarians. They will only think twice if there are many hundreds (or even thousands) of letters sent. The process only takes 10 minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable on the internet, your kids will be able to help you.
What compensation system do we have now?
Did you know that if you are injured at work you are entitled to claim WorkCover? This is a no fault system, it does not matter whether you made a mistake or not. If you get a cut, lose fingers or suffer injuries to your back, shoulders, wrists and elbows from heavy repetitive work you are entitled to claim WorkCover. You can also claim if you get a work related disease such as Q Fever or Stress. This is true whether you are permanent or casual, full time or part time, slaughterer, boner, labourer, trainee or apprentice.
Did you know that if you are injured at work you have to put this into an Injury Register at work? You should have it recorded within 30 days of the incident happening. Your employer must give you a copy of the report.
Did you know that if you are injured at work you have the right to choose which doctor you go to for treatment?
Did you know that if you need time off work (or even time on ‘light duties’) you get a special certificate called a “WorkCover Certificate of Capacity”?
Did you know that if you are injured at work and need time off work and treatment you have to fill in a WorkSafe Worker’s Injury Claim Form? You can get one from the Post Office. If you need help with filling it in you can contact your AMIEU Organiser, Barrie Chalkley, on 0412 119 552. You give/post the Claim Form and the Certificate of Capacity to work. Keep a copy. It is illegal for your employer to refuse to accept these forms.
When your WorkCover Claim is accepted on the current system, what are your entitlements?
On WorkCover you are entitled to weekly payments for time that you can’t work because of the injury. For the first 13 weeks this is paid at 95% of your average pay then it could go down to 75% of your average (more if you are working some of the time but not in your pre-injury job). After 26 weeks WorkCover payments are 75% of base rate. Weekly payments are only paid if you keep getting WorkCover Certificates and try to get back to work as soon as possible. All reasonable medical costs to help you to get better from the injury are also paid by WorkCover. If you are fit to return to your pre-injury work or some other duties your employer must help you to return to work for the year after your injury.
What if the claim is not accepted?
Currently you have to wait for up to 38 days for an answer. The Insurer/Claims Agent has to accept or reject your claim in writing and give the reason if they are rejecting it. This can be appealed, initially without lawyers. The AMIEU helps members with the process which involves the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service. If the dispute can’t be sorted through Conciliation it can be taken to the Courts. In the meantime there are no WorkCover payments.
What more does the AMIEU want in the workers’ compensation system?
We want it to be easier to make a claim – not so much paper work and delays while it is decided. We want weekly payments to be better. That is we want 100% of your average pay for the first year and then 80% of your average pay going on for longer than is available now. We also want the payments made within 7 days of claims being lodged.
We want the dispute resolution system improved. This means that Conciliation Officers would be given the power to arbitrate that is to change decisions (or affirm them) made by the Claims Agents. It would shorten the process dramatically and
We want Return to Work processes improved dramatically so that the injured workers can have representatives, and have a real say in their RTW in conjunction with their own Doctor. We also think that employers should be obliged to give injured workers their jobs back when they are fit to return to them. If not able to return to pre-injury work but are fit do some work employers should have to give suitable work, even if it means that you need retraining. The boss’ obligation should not stop after a year.
The Review that the Government established is not giving us what is needed.
|Come to the Country Comfort Motel at 7.00pm Wednesday 19 November.
For years the Labor government has been promising unions that it would make big improvements to the system. It hasn’t.
Tell them that we want WorkCover made better for workers