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”.
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).