The WorkCover scheme is a system of statute based, compulsory insurance that provides a range of entitlements to workers and insures employers against the impact of economic and non-economic loss suffered by workers.
WorkSafe acts as the regulator and the underwriter of the WorkCover scheme. It administers the scheme through private service providers, referred to as Agents, who are authorised by WorkSafe to provide services to employers and workers in accordance with the legislation and standards and procedures set by WorkSafe.
The Victorian WorkCover scheme and WorkSafe are primarily governed by the Accident Compensation Act 1985, the Accident Compensation (WorkCover Insurance) Act 1993 and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
Register for WorkCover insurance
Employers must register for WorkCover Insurance if they employ workers who work in Victoria and:
- their annual remuneration is more than $7,500 or is expected to be more than $7,500 or
- they employ apprentices or trainees.
Note: Special provisions apply for the self-employed and certain classes of contractors.
See: Workers and Injuries
Each year the Government sets what is called the average insurance premium rate. This is the percentage of Victorian employers' total remuneration needed to meet the cost of claims for the year. The average premium rate for 2022/23 is 1.272%.
WorkSafe annually gazettes the industry and industry claim cost rates for each industry classification. These are used in the determination of an employer’s premium based on the classification of their individual workplaces.
Access to self-insurance
Larger employers are able to act as self-insurers subject to approval by WorkSafe.
Employers who meet certain conditions may apply to WorkSafe for approval to self-insure their WorkCover liabilities and manage their own claims for compensation in accordance with the legislation.
The main objectives of the Victorian WorkCover scheme are to:
- reduce the incidence of accidents and diseases in the workplace
- make provision for the effective occupational rehabilitation of injured workers and their early return to work
- increase the provision of suitable employment to workers who are injured to enable their early return to work
- ensure appropriate compensation under the legislation is paid to injured workers in the most socially and economically appropriate manner, as expeditiously as possible
- ensure workers compensation costs are contained so as to minimise the burden on Victorian businesses
- establish incentives that are conducive to efficiency and discourage abuse
- enhance flexibility in the system and allow adaptation to the particular needs of disparate work situations
- maintain a fully funded scheme
- in this context, to improve the health and safety of persons at work and reduce the social and economic costs to the Victorian community of accident compensation.
Victorian workers return home safe every day.
Actively working with the community to deliver outstanding workplace safety and return to work together with quality care and insurance protection to workers and employers.
The work we do is important – we impact upon many peoples’ lives every day. We have a responsibility to ensure that strong values guide us in everything we do.
Agents are appointed by WorkSafe as the frontline service delivery arm of the WorkCover scheme and are required to contribute to and share responsibility for, achieving the business objectives of the scheme.
Agents therefore have a vital role to play in achieving the key goals of WorkSafe and directly contribute to the scheme's success or failure.
The functions of Agents are to:
- register and maintain employer insurance policies
- collect premiums
- manage claims in accordance with WorkCover legislation, the Agency Agreement and policies, procedures and standards set by WorkSafe
- provide claims and risk The probability of the worker not returning to work is known as the risk or risk factor. For example: if a worker is likely to return to work, the claim is categorised as low risk. management services to employers.
Agents receive a service fee from WorkSafe plus annual performance fees based on the Agent’s success in achieving scheme objectives and a lump sum fee based on their management of liabilities.