Changes to Definition of Worker made by Queensland Parliament

definition-of-a-worker

It has come to our attention, thanks to our co-author Trinny, that recent changes were made by the Queensland Parliament  as to the definition of a “worker”, which basically means that fewer workers are now covered under the QLD workers compensation Act.

All Queensland workers and employers are urged check their workers’ compensation obligations urgently.

Changes to Definition of Worker made by Queensland Parliament

Queensland employers and workers are being urged to review their workers’ compensation obligations, after the State Government’s Industrial Relations (Transparency and Accountability of Industrial Organisations) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2013 passed through Parliament this week.

As reported by OHS Alert in May, the Bill replaces the current broad definition of “worker” in the State Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 – a “person who works under a contract of service” (s11) – with the following provision:

“A worker is a person who (a) works under a contract; and (b) in relation to the work, is an employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG withholding under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cwlth), schedule 1, part 2-5.”

A parliamentary committee inquiry into the Queensland workers’ comp scheme recently advised against amending the definition, saying it could have “unintended imposts” on the scheme, and lead to “vulnerable” workers being “unknowingly excluded” from injury cover.

The current definition has been “tested at law and fundamentally works”, the inquiry found.

But it is understood that Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said  that the new definition, which took effect on 1 July 2013, will ensure the objectives of the workers’ comp scheme are achieved “without burdensome red tape”.

The changes are likely to have a significant effect on the construction and transport industries.

Examples of individuals no longer covered for workers’ compensation are those who: supply and operate their own plant, such as earthmoving equipment or trucks, as part of their contract; work mainly or substantially for labour only, quote for the job, provide their tools of trade or rectify defects at their own expense; or have a personal services business determination from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Those who might be affected by the new definition should consult  – workcover QLD website on the changes, and the ATO’s employee/contractor decision tool.

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workcovervictim3
Guest
Oh dear, it doesn’t end here – workcover QLD is also planning to abolish journey claims – referring to it as a “luxury”, WTF! WorkCover QLD review could strip workers of right to compensation BOSSES and unions have clashed over revelations that the State Government is considering axing compensation for workers injured on their way to work. Injury compensation lawyer Mark O’Connor said dumping the provision under WorkCover Queensland would be “mean” and “heartless”. “An injury caused when a worker is going to or from work has no individual impact on the employer’s WorkCover premiums. In fact travel claims represent… Read more »
Bunny
Guest
Overwhelmed, I was being sarcastic and I am on the side of all workers who are injured, especially those who have been impoverished by the system. This whole idea of workers having their own income protection comes from the policies of the Torries in Britain and of course is supported 100% by insurance companies. All workers need to resist this passionately as it shifts the burden of not only WC but also workplace safety onto the worker. Soon they will expect us to pay them to get employment (will it ever end?). WCV you are totally correct on this, unfortunately… Read more »
workcovervictim3
Guest

I think the way they go about making these “subtle” yet drastic changes is done is a most sly and underhanded manner, indeed targeting the most vulnerable workers – those who are most often unaware of such changes, such as manual labourers, less educated workers, often not as fluent in English. It is hard enough for us to actually find and source these changes, that’s how well hidden they are (from the general madia and population). Pretty abhorrent.

OVERWHELMED
Guest

I could not afford income protection on a basic wage however, some can afford it and my wage is now reduced by 80%…I’m living on a credit card! I suppose i’m lucky to have that!

Bunny
Guest
Hey, there is an answer to this – take out your own workers comp insurance. And that folks was the hidden agenda the whole time. Insurance companies and their bedfellows – state governments have been involved in the systematic dismantling of WC. Look at how they are obsessed with reducing premiums for WC, has anyone ever seen Insurance companies ever do this with other insurance???? The plan is for every worker to have their own WC insurance (what do you think income protection is?) and then they will systematically increase the premiums, just like they do with all other insurance.… Read more »
Rusos Demetrios
Guest
There are other aspects that have led to this situation and one as may be expected, it is the minority ‘opportunists’ who for their self gratification and greed, have caused the remainder of us to be penalised. To protect our rights, don’t ignore or accept unethical behaviour of others taking ‘sickies’ placing false claims to get remuneration for no work etc. This costs all of us – employers, employees, contractors and we as tax payers. The money for these parasites has to come from some where and it is from each of us! So to protect yourself as a worker… Read more »
FU_CGU
Guest
@Rusos Demetrios: I not sure if you are the big Greek guy who sang in a high voice or not. Mmmmmm, Anyway, my, my, we are self opinionated, aren’t we! Whilst I agree with you that anyone committing fraud should be punished, the only real fraudsters in the Workers Comp systems are the insurers themselves.! I still cannot believe the WorkCover business model – the more the “scheme” costs, the higher the income of the Workers Comp insurers. It is NOT in their interests to spend less money. The Urban Myth about hordes of injured workers ripping of the system… Read more »