U.K. law eases worker liability standard in comp cases- will Australia follow?


It is interesting to see how other countries are dealing with Workers Compensation. The UK has one of the biggest uptakes of personal Workers Compensation insurance, a trend that could accelerate here with the promotion of Income Insurance.

Effectively this means placing responsibility for Workers Compensation onto workers themselves.

However they have gone further in the UK and as we have adopted other reforms from the UK in the past, how long will it be until these measures are adopted here in Australia?

U.K. law eases worker liability standard in comp cases- will Australia follow?

by co-author ‘Rescape’

New U.K. law eases worker liability standard in comp cases

May 5, 2013 –  http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20130505/NEWS06/305059973

Under a recently approved U.K. law, employees will have to prove employer negligence to win a workplace injury claim in the United Kingdom, and employers will have more options when dealing with underperforming workers.

The U.K. Parliament late last month gave final approval to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which also received the formality known as “royal assent.”

Most of the law likely will be enacted this year, experts say.

Clause 62 of the new law removes the current “strict liability” standard that makes employers automatically liable for many workplace injuries, regardless of fault, under the current Health and Safety at Work Act, London-based law firm Pinsent Masons L.L.P. said in a briefing note.

Under the new law, employees will have to prove negligence on the part of their employer to pursue a claim, the law firm said.

The House of Lords, the upper chamber of the U.K. Parliament, previously rejected Clause 62’s removal of that civil liability. But the U.K. Parliament’s elected chamber, the House of Commons, reinstated the clause, and the House of Lords approved the bill April 22 on a 170-112 vote.

“This reform is not about reducing the number of claims made, but about establishing the important principle that employers should always have the opportunity to defend themselves against a compensation claim, when they have done nothing wrong and have taken all reasonable precautions to protect their employees,” said James Younger, parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

“The changes mean that it will only be possible to claim compensation for accidents which would currently constitute a breach of health and safety regulations, where it can be proved by the claimant that the employer has been negligent at common law,” London-based law firm CMS Cameron McKenna L.L.P. said in a statement.


2 Responses to “U.K. law eases worker liability standard in comp cases- will Australia follow?”

  1. Both UK and US are facing the worst recession in history.
    Their misleading (and rich) politicians have reached the end of the line so they need to find money at all cost in the easy way: by stabbing the lower class!

    Xchangingvictim October 6, 2013 at 11:08 pm
  2. Reading about Workers Comp in the UK and United States can give us some insight into what may be coming our way. I personally had no idea that the O Farrell government would decimate WC like it has done and if I had known what was coming I would have definitely made sure that I sued under strict negligence using tort law (I was denied this choice and could not make a reasonable decision on it as I could not know that O Farrell would make his amendments retrospective). It seems to me that the changes will keep happening, forewarned is forearmed. Limits on compensation payouts have already reared their ugly head here and in whatever form they come, it is a red light to any injured worker. I have said it before and I will say it again, any future injured worker who can prove negligence on the part of their employer, should avoid WC altogether and sue under tort law (at least we know that these laws will never be changed because employers will not change laws that can affect them when they sue other companies).