ASK RENATA

A casual employee was injured at my workplace and taken to the hospital. They were unable to work for three days and needed time off to recover. Although they missed their scheduled days, they don't have sick leave entitlements. What can you advise?

Firstly, we’re very sorry to hear that a member of your workgroup has been injured. Workplace injuries can have a significant impact on our personal lives and relationships with family and friends. Nobody wants to experience a workplace injury.

Encourage your colleague to report and record the incident with your employer as well as speak to their treating practitioner about the possibilty of lodging a WorkCover claim. Whilst the injury has only resulted in three days of incapacity so far, it is not clear if this injury will create future problems. Having an accepted WorkCover claim means your colleague will be covered in the event of any future recurrence or aggravation of the injury.

Our WorkCover scheme is a statutory, no-fault, compulsory insurance scheme, establishing an entitlement to compensation, regardless of who's at fault. The claim for compensation should be lodged as soon as practicable after realising an incapacity has resulted from the workplace injury.

Under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act) the injured worker must notify their employer that an injury has occurred within 30 days of becoming aware they're injured.

For the purposes of WorkCover, casual, part-time, and full-time workers are all elligible for compensation.

Having an approved WorkCover claim means most medical expenses can be reimbursed, as well as most lost earnings.

  • 0-13 weeks: 95% of pre-injury average weekly earnings (including regular shifts and overtime)
  • 14-52 weeks: 80% of pre-injury average weekly earnings (including regular shifts and overtime). After 52 weeks, regular shifts and overtime are not included.
  • 53-130 weeks: 80% of pre-injury average weekly earnings (excluding regular shifts and overtime).

WorkSafe’s Claims Manual (chapter 2.4) states that the employer is liable for the first 10 days of payments, with the insuring agent taking over thereafter.

We encourage you to contact your union for additional guidance and support. Union members can also reach out to Union Assist, which is based at Trades Hall and helps union members with WorkCover queries and disputes. The service is free and available to members of associated unions.

It's worth noting that the WIRC Act 2013 requires an employer to keep a register of injuries.

When your colleague reports the injury, your employer should record it and inform the injured worker of their right to lodge a WorkCover claim. It's important your employer meets these obligations. 

Also worth noting: Under section 37 of our OHS Act the employer has a duty to notify WorkSafe if a serious incident occurs at the workplace. The incidents specifically covered by this part of the Act include those requiring 'immediate hospital treatment as an in-patient.' It is not clear if this is the case here, or if one of the other reporting triggers was activated, but it should at least be reviewed.

Check out WorkSafe’s guidance Report an incident: Criteria for notifiable incidents and our own Notifiable Incidents webpage, for more information.

You may also find our 'Workers' Compensation: What are your rights?' and 'Help a member with Workers' Compensation' webpages helpful.

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