Agents have an important role in helping employers comply with their WorkCover obligations.
Encourage commitment to obligations
It is in an Agent’s best interest to ensure that employers provide compliant, safe and healthy workplaces in which compensation claims are managed efficiently and effectively.
Report compliance issues
Agents report employer breaches or seek advice from either:
- the RTW Return to Work Inspectorate if the breach is about an employer RTW obligation within the 52 week employment obligation period or
- the Enforcement Group at WorkSafe.
Penalties that affect employers
WorkCover legislation has penalties for non-compliance. These penalties are specified as penalty units.
Penalties about employer premiums however, are usually determined as a percentage of the premium the employer owes.
Death and serious injury
If a worker dies or suffers a specified serious injury as specified in s37 of the OHS Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers must, in addition to the obligations specified in this chapter, immediately notify WorkSafe by telephone on 13 23 60.
Main employer obligations
This chapter outlines the major obligations that employers have under the WorkCover scheme. It does not contain all possible employer obligations.
22.214.171.124 General employer obligations
Employers must meet the obligations outlined in this section to meet the requirements of the legislation.
Safe working environment
Employers have obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace for workers and contractors. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, related regulations and Codes of Practice set out further information about these obligations.
The employer has a legal responsibility to 'so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain for employees of the employer a working environment that is safe and without risks to health'.
126.96.36.199 Register for WorkCover insurance
Employers' obligations about their WorkCover insurance registration are set out in the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013. The premium section of each Agent is responsible for managing premium issues for employers.
The employer must register for WorkCover insurance with an Agent of their choice if:
- their annual remuneration is or is expected to be more than $7,500 in a full financial year
- they employ apprentices or trainees, regardless of their annual remuneration.
Employers with remuneration under $7,500
If an employer's remuneration is below $7,500 per year and they do not employ apprentices or trainees, they are not required to register for WorkCover insurance.
WorkSafe is liable to indemnify these employers in respect of their legislative liabilities to pay compensation and damages to workers. They must register with WorkSafe if a claim is lodged against them.
188.8.131.52 Display notices at workplaces
Employers must make readily available to workers employed in the workplace at all reasonable times, a summary of:
- how to give notice of an injury
- how to make a claim
- the name of the Agent, if applicable
- the benefits available to workers under the legislation
Places where summaries must be accessible
For the purposes of this requirement a workplace includes every:
- mine and quarry
- factory, shop, warehouse and office
- other workplaces in which 10 or more workers are engaged in or from which their work is managed or controlled.
Summary in approved form
The summary must be in a form approved by WorkSafe. The 'If You Are Injured at Work' poster which Agents supply to employers provides this information.
Agents should ensure that each employer is supplied with enough posters to display in their workplaces.
If an employer changes Agents, the employer should ensure that the details of their current Agent The Agent with responsibility for managing an employer’s policy and claims at a given point in time. In relation to employer transfers, this is the Agent that the employer will be transferring from. are displayed.
184.108.40.206 Register of injuries
Employers must make readily available at all reasonable times to workers employed in the workplace or any person acting on a worker's behalf, a register of injuries.
Employers must ensure that particulars of the injury or condition are entered in the register when they receive notice of an injury or condition.
A worker or any person acting on their behalf may enter the particulars of an injury or condition in the register.
Register must be in an approved form
The register must be in a form approved by WorkSafe. The form relates only to the information or particulars that must be provided, not to the manner or format in which the information can be requested.
The register can be in an exercise book or standard diary, provided it contains the particulars specified by WorkSafe.
To design a register of injury keep in mind that the employer must acknowledge a notice of injury in writing.
Information recorded in the register
The following information is recorded in the register of injuries:
- worker’s name
- worker’s occupation or job title
- time and date of injury
- worker’s exact location at the time of the injury
- exact description of how injury was sustained
- nature of injury and the body part/s affected
- witnesses to the injury, if any
- date of entry in register
- name of person making the entry.
Before a worker commences employment the employer can write to the worker to:
- advise the nature of the proposed employment
- ask the worker to disclose pre-existing injuries and diseases that could be affected by the proposed employment
- advise the worker that if they fail to disclose or make a false or misleading disclosure any recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation and deterioration of the pre-existing injury or disease resulting from the employment does not entitle the worker to compensation.
Failure to disclose
From 29 June 1998, a worker is not entitled to compensation if it is proved that before commencing employment:
- the employer took the actions described above
- the worker failed to disclose a pre-existing injury or disease that they were aware of or made a false or misleading disclosure.
220.127.116.11 Goods & services tax
Agents must ensure that the claims amounts employers pay are itemised so that the amounts of Goods and Services Tax (GST Goods and Services Tax) paid can be clearly identified.
Employers must provide their Agent with the following GST information:
- their Australian Business Number, if applicable
- whether or not they have registered for GST
- their Input Tax Credit An Input Tax Credit (ITC) is the amount of GST a registered business is entitled to claim from the Australian Taxation Office. Entitlement (ITCE Input Tax Credit Entitlement (ITCE) - the ITCE percentage is the amount of the GST payable on the premium that an employer can claim as an Input Tax Credit from the Australian Taxation Office.) percentage.
The employers must also reconfirm/update their ITCE percentage annually when completing their Declaration of Rateable Remuneration form.
Agents must ensure that employers understand these requirements, so that they obtain correct information.
If an employer does not provide this information, or provides incorrect information, their claims costs for premium calculation will not be adjusted for Decreasing Adjustments on claim settlements.
The accuracy of information also affects WorkSafe’s ability to claim the correct Decreasing Adjustments from the ATO Australian Tax Office.
18.104.22.168 Providing advice to employers
Agents have a responsibility to ensure that employers are aware of their obligations under the Act such as the timeframes to submit claims, the payment of weekly payments and the obligations to provide pre-injury/equivalent or suitable employment to workers.
Additionally, employers are required to comply with labour laws, industrial awards and agreements under which their employment arrangements with their employees are regulated. Where employers seek employment related advice outside of their obligations under the Act, Agents must not provide advice but advise employers that they should seek independent advice in regard to these matters.