News Post

Raising the bar: what you need to know about the WorkCover overhaul

Workplace and Insurance Services

The Victorian government last week unveiled significant proposed reforms to the WorkCover legislation.  Under the proposal, some of the biggest changes will target mental injury claims and claims for weekly payments beyond 130 weeks.

While the amending legislation has not yet been released, the government addressed the media last week and has released factsheets outlining the changes.

Under the proposal, the categories of mental injury eligible for compensation would be restricted with the intention of excluding claims for weekly payments for "stress" and "burnout."  Workers with such injuries would instead be entitled to 'provisional' payments of 13 weeks of medical and like expenses.  

Workers who suffer mental injuries arising from bullying, harassment and traumatic events are still intended to be covered under the changes.  Examples of eligible claims provided by the government include a teacher who is exposed to occupational violence by students and a worker who suffers PTSD as a result of workplace bullying.

Workers who receive 130 weeks of weekly payments would need to satisfy a requirement of a 20% whole person impairment in addition to the capacity test in order to be eligible to receive weekly payments beyond that point.

It is unclear at this stage how the proposed legislation will address the situation where a worker's condition has not stabilised to enable an assessment of impairment at the 130 week mark.

The amending legislation is set to be introduced later this year and is planned to come into effect in 2024. While the legislation will not apply retrospectively, mental injury claims lodged from the date the legislation comes into effect will need to meet the new eligibility requirements.  

Workers who have not yet received 130 weeks of weekly payments when the legislation takes effect will need to meet the 20 per cent impairment requirement, whereas workers with existing claims who have already received more than 130 weeks of payments will not be impacted.

TG Legal + Technology will monitor further developments and is ready to assist clients in navigating these proposed changes.

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