Injured workers and ill workers and their families will be worse after the Inquiry Panel announced its recommendations in Parliament last night.The proposals aim to starve injured workers back to work with pay cuts to workers after just 13 weeks.
The committee’s report was tabled in the NSW Parliament late yesterday and has made 28 recommendations,most of which are appalling.
A full list of recommendations is attached. You can download a full copy of the report here: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/4AB361E7951FF4B5CA257A1C002758A0?open&refnavid=CO3_1
The Government is expected to introduce legislation in Parliament to reflect these recommendations in the next few days
The recommendations include the following:
· Abolition of journey claims, which will mean that workers (accept police officers) will no longer be covered for injuries while travelling to and from work. Recess claims will also be limited to circumstances where employment has been the significant contributing factor.
· Reduction of weekly benefits to 95% of average earning for the first 13 weeks, reducing to 80% from 14 weeks. The statutory rate of $432.50 will still apply from 26 weeks.
· “Less seriously injured workers” to be cut off from weekly benefits after 5 years. “Intermediate” injured workers will be cut off after 9 years. “Severely” injured workers will not be cut off from weekly benefits. These categories are undefined. It is suspected “severely” injured may be defined as 30% Whole Person Impairment (WPI), which would only account for a small fraction of injuries each year.
· Medical payments only be paid while someone is on weekly benefits, plus one year after weekly benefits cease.
· Abolition of ability of dependents of deceased or injured workers to make nervous shock claims.
· Mandatory, independent, binding work capacity testing at defined intervals.
· Make commutations more available.
· Change the definition of ‘injury’ so employment needs to be the main contributing factor (changed from “a contributing factor”) to the contraction, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of the disease.
· Make it harder to prove negligence in Work Injury Damages lump sum claims.
· Abolish payment of death benefits where the killed worker had no dependants.
· Increase the thresholds for permanent impairment lump sums from the current 1% WPI (general) and 6 per cent WPI (binaural hearing loss) to 10% (with a 15% WPI threshold to be retained for psychological injury).
· Establish a joint standing committee of the Parliament to conduct annual reviews of WorkCover.