7.8.1 Conciliation costs

A worker who attends a conciliation conference is entitled to seek reimbursement for:

  • the reasonable transport expenses to and from the conciliation conference up to a maximum of $67 (indexed annually) inclusive of parking and kilometres travelled
  • loss of income incurred by the worker as a result of attending the conciliation conference up to a maximum of $461 per day (indexed annually).

Who is reimbursed

Only the worker may be entitled to reimbursement of the costs of transport and/or any loss of income incurred by that person. The entitlement does not extend to:

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Reimbursement

Reimbursement must be made within 30 days of receipt by the Agent of the completed Conciliation Costs Declaration form. A worker claiming reimbursement must attach any transport related receipts and the employer statement or pay slip confirming the loss of income being claimed.

Interest is not payable if reimbursement is not be made within 30 days. A formal complaint can be lodged via the Complaints and Governance Branch at WorkSafe.

Reimbursement for loss of income can only be made if the worker is in current employment and will only be paid for attendance at the conciliation conference during hours they would normally work.

The reimbursement of loss of income does not include the reinstatement of sick or annual leave that may have been claimed by the worker to attend a conciliation conference.

Reasonable transportation cost

The following transportation costs are considered reasonable to attend a conciliation conference:

  • travel by public transport
    Workers are encouraged to use public transport (bus, tram or train) when possible. Reimbursement will cover the daily fare of zones travelled.
  • use of private vehicle
    If a worker uses a private vehicle for transportation to and from the conciliation conference, reimbursement is paid at the rate of 30 cents per kilometre. The costs of parking and tolls can be considered when the Agent is provided with the appropriate ticket, invoice or receipt. Parking may be paid up to $15 without a receipt.
  • travel by taxi
    The costs of travel by taxi will only be considered reasonable where there is medical evidence from the THP Treating Health Practitioner that the worker is not capable of travelling by public or private transport.
  • any other mode of transport
    If a claim for reimbursement is made for travel by any other form of transport, regard will need to be had to existing WorkCover policy as outlined in the Claims Manual and bearing in mind the legislative cap of $67 for reimbursement (indexed annually).

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Conciliation via videoconferencing

WorkSafe will reimburse the following to cover expenses associated with WIC Workcover Injury Commission videoconferences attended by workers:

  • $5 per videoconference payable where:
    • worker has attended a conciliation conference
    • worker declares that they have incurred the expense

If a worker incurs costs greater than $5 associated with WIC videoconferencing, the Agent will consider the reasonable amount payable on a case by case basis on receipt of evidence of the expense from the worker (i.e. a bill).

Agents should use payment type 148 (WIC video conferencing).

Loss of income – injury employer

To claim reimbursement for loss of income, the worker must be rostered to work on the date of the conference and must have lost income as a result of attending the conference. If the worker is currently employed by the injury employer a statement from the employer (which may be a pay slip) must be provided which confirms the:

  • total time lost (in hours) by the worker on the date of the conciliation conference including the time taken to travel to and from the conference
  • total amount of gross income lost as a result of the worker’s absence
  • hourly average weekly earnings rate.

The maximum amount that can be paid to a worker for loss of income incurred to attend a conciliation conference is $461.

Time loss payment method – non injury employer

If the worker is no longer employed by the injury employer at the time of the conciliation conference or when the claim for reimbursement is made (including where the worker is self-employed) the Agent must make arrangements for the worker to be a direct payee.

The worker must provide the Agent with a statement or pay slip to confirm the income lost on the date of the conference. A tax file number declaration form must also be provided.

Multiple conciliation conferences

Most workers will only be required to attend one conciliation conference about their dispute. However, if at the conclusion of the initial conference, the dispute remains unresolved and the Conciliation Officer schedules a second conference, the worker is entitled to seek reimbursement for both conferences (if two conferences occurred on the same day, reimbursement can only be made once).

A worker will not be able to seek reimbursement of costs if the original conciliation conference date be rescheduled and the WIC had notified the parties of the new date. If the conference was rescheduled on the day of the conference and the WIC had not been able to contact the worker, the worker will be able to claim any associated transportation costs to and from conciliation and/or loss of income subject to the Conciliation Officer’s confirmation that the worker could not be contacted before the adjournment.

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Complaints

A decision made by the Agent about the payment of conciliation costs cannot be returned to the WIC as a 'dispute'. If a dispute exists the worker may issue proceedings in the Supreme Court seeking judicial review.

Agent pays cost of medical reports

The Conciliation Service may ask for a report from the worker’s treating doctor or specialist if one or more of the following applies:

  • medical issues are central to the dispute
  • the information would help resolve the dispute
  • the information was not available when the original decision was made
  • reasonable costs are in dispute.

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