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Sep 27

Too old for compensation

A NARRABEEN grandfather injured while at work believes he has been “ripped off” because he cannot claim full injury benefits due to his age. 

The Manly Daily – Too old for compensation

On March 3, logistics worker John Clarke was injured when a set of stairs collapsed underneath him. Mr Clarke required surgery on his right knee and needed 10 days off work. Normally, an injured worker can claim medical expenses and compensation for lost wages through the WorkCover Authority of NSW.

But as Mr Clarke turned 65 on April 21 he is classed as being of retiring age. This meant he could not claim wages for surgery he needed in June following unsuccessful physiotherapy. He has also been told he will need a replacement knee in a few years, but compensation for medical expenses as a result of his accident will expire once he turns 66.

Instead, Mr Clarke had to use his sick leave to cover his time off. A younger worker in the same situation would have got the full entitlement, Mr Clarke said.

“I think it’s a rip-off. I’m still in full employment, paying the same amount of taxes,” he said.

He questioned talk from politicians about keeping people working later in life. “They won’t cover us for wages (if we’re injured). There’s no point in me staying in the workforce, risking injury and not being covered,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll change the law so the older worker is covered for injuries. “If they’re still paying taxes, why shouldn’t they be covered?”

Ian Day, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing peak body, said Mr Clarke’s situation was an example of impediments for older workers that needed removing.“These are the sorts of structural issues that are embedded in so much legislation that works contrary to the concept of people working longer,” he said.

A WorkCover NSW spokeswoman confirmed Mr Clarke was not eligible for wage compensation once he turned 65.“The WorkCover system is designed to be fair and affordable, to assist injured workers return to work . . . and ensure a financially sustainable scheme,” she said.

3 comments

  1. Bunny

    Mr Clarke should consider suing for strict negligence. If the system tries to lock out people just because of their age, then it is time to use other avenues available to us and sue for us much as you can with punitive damages. It is only with actions like this that we can equalize what is inherently an unfair set up where bosses win and workers lose. I would also the Workcover spokeswoman, what happened to liability? The WC system was set up originally to get rid of workers suing bosses because of unsafe working situations, time for all of us to go back to what we had

  2. Bunny

    I left out the word “ask’. I would also like to add that Workers Compensation premiums are tax deductable for businesses, sort of puts a different spin on it doesn’t it. Workers seem to carry the whole burden of being injured

  3. Complainers of the world make a difference

    Yes Bunny good point, the cost of premiums is lowered when they are claimed as a tax benefit. Does the employer pay workers comp premiums for older workers?

    I have never seen such a biased system. I feel really sorry for anyone injured at work as there is not one fair thing about the whole process and then you have to live with your injury and all the consequences of it, as well as being treated like a fraud by case managers who live and breathe “power play” making you the pawn in their game of life!!

    I felt so angry at the last support meeting to hear to story of a young girl who is being denied treatment for terrible life long injuries. That insurer ought to be held responsible for their bullying tactics and victimization of this poor young lady and her family who have given her to love and support she will never get from the insurer!!!

    Old or young everyone deserves respect and the right to a safe workplace and when we are injured the dignity of being treated as a valuable human being is what is required.

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