Comcare workcover scheme to be tightened to prevent reckless injured workers claiming for injuries

pyne-comcare

The national workers compensation scheme will be tightened under the Abbott government overhaul to prevent reckless workers claiming for injuries caused through their own misconduct….reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

So much for our “no fault workcover system” .. and what about reckless employers?

Comcare workcover scheme to be tightened to prevent reckless injured workers claiming for injuries

Reckless workers hit by Comcare changes

As part of its red tape repeal, the coalition has detailed a series of changes to the Comcare system, including removing restrictions on national companies able to self-insure under the scheme.

But the overhaul also targeted workers the government says “break the rules”, removing access to compensation for those injured as a result of their own “serious and wilful misconduct”.

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne during Question Time.<br /><br /><br /><br />
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Tabling the changes in parliament, Leader of the House Christopher Pyne said the compensation scheme should not include a “safety net” for workers who put themselves and other employees at risk.

“The Australian public rightly expects that employees should take personal responsibility for their actions,” he said on Wednesday.

In changes likely to provoke the ire of Labor and the unions, Mr Pyne said the government would also tighten compensation for injuries that occur during recess breaks.

Under the current system, claims could be made when a employee was injured out shopping, at a restaurant or playing sport away from work, he said.

The new laws would address this “unfair arrangement”, he said, while still protecting employees injured in the workplace or undertaking activities associated with their employment.

As flagged, the government will also open the Comcare system up to national companies, so they can avoid the duplication of having to deal with the various state-based systems.

There are 30 corporations now self insured under Comcare – including Telstra, Optus and the National Australia Bank – which the government says are benefiting from reduced red tape, costs and bureaucracy.

The Abbott government last year scrapped a 2007 Labor moratorium on new companies joining.

But the further changes would remove a requirement that companies be in competition with a commonwealth or former commonwealth authority to be eligible.

Debate on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 has been adjourned.

[Source: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/reckless-workers-hit-by-comcare-changes-20140319-351r0.html]



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9 Responses to “Comcare workcover scheme to be tightened to prevent reckless injured workers claiming for injuries”

  1. Bye bye Workers Comp. Over the years many of us on this site have advocated a national workers comp system, a few days ago the Abbott government announced that employers working over more than one state could now join Comcare and set up their own coverage under the Federal government. I was pleasantly surprised by this until now. Of course I should have realised that there was a sting in the tail, it is that old ideology back again. Blame the injured worker, make workers responsible for their own injuries, make sure insurance companies profit even more by getting workers to buy their own income protection. To all who predicted this like At A Loss, Pauline, WCV and others perhaps we should go into the psychic business, bet it pays more than paltry benefits and maybe with the better income we could get medical care which helps us.

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  2. We’ve never had real workers compensation anyway. That’s why so many of us are so messed up. Looks like all the big money boys want a slice of this lucrative trough. There’s big profits to be made in this world from the misery and torture of others.

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  3. No workers compensation for public servants injured on breaks away from workplace

    Public servants injured while taking breaks away from their workplace will no longer be entitled to workers’ compensation payouts, in changes to the Comcare scheme tabled in Parliament yesterday.

    The amendments will also rule out compensation payments to workers who hurt themselves through their own ”serious and wilful misconduct”, even if it kills them.

    The changes, which also open up the Comcare scheme to many more private sector players who can now become ”self-insured” under its umbrella, fall short of the sweeping changes recommended by a government-ordered review last year.

    But one of the authors of the review said on Wednesday that an expected influx of private companies into Comcare will ramp up pressure for more changes to the insurance scheme so that it operates ”rationally and sensibly”.

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/no-workers-compensation-for-public-servants-injured-on-breaks-away-from-workplace-20140319-35363.html

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    workcovervictim3 March 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm
  4. Comcare clamps down on out-of-work injuries

    Changes to the Australian Public Service workers compensation scheme, Comcare, have been announced to open the scheme up to more private employers and to clamp down on benefits to PS staff injured away from work.

    Announced by the Government’s Leader of the House of Representatives, Christopher Pyne, the proposed new law would replace the current competition test with a ‘national employer’ test; introduce a streamlined application process; allow for group licences; and extend Federal work health and safety (WHS) law to apply to new self-insurers.

    Mr Pyne said the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill allowed all national companies the opportunity to be self-insured in the Comcare scheme; and excluded access to workers’ compensation during offsite recess breaks or where an injury was the result of serious or wilful misconduct.
    More private employers eligible

    He said the Bill would reduce the cost of the regulatory burden on the economy by implementing recommendations of the Review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 by Peter Hanks and Allan Hawke commissioned by the former Government in 2012.

    Mr Pyne said the Act provided compensation and rehabilitation support to injured Australian Government and Australian Capital Territory employees, as well as employees of private corporations who hold a licence under the Act.

    Mr Pyne said the Bill would make amendments to remove the requirement for the Minister to declare a corporation to be eligible to be granted a licence for self-insurance.

    It would also enable corporations currently required to meet workers’ compensation obligations under two or more workers’ compensation laws of a State or Territory to apply to the Commission to join the Comcare scheme; and enable the Commission to grant group licences to related corporations.

    He said the Bill would also exclude access to workers’ compensation where: injuries occurred during recess breaks away from an employer’s premises; or a person engaged in serious and wilful misconduct, even if the injury resulted in death or serious and permanent impairment.

    http://www.psnews.com.au/Page_psn4021.html?utm_source=psn402&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news1&utm_campaign=newsletter_aps

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    workcovervictim3 March 25, 2014 at 10:33 am
  5. When I sustained injury at workplace, I was an employee of a self-insured Bank. Became a victim of personal vendetta, as my department head and the WC Ins Mgr were good mates, whose office was stone throw from each other. Fifteen years has passed. Many atrocities has been committed against me by my employer’s self-insured WC Insurance company and their associates. Though settlement was reached, discrimination, bullying, and especially intimidation which was and is most tormenting, continues. Legally this is not permitted. Who is to tell them that. I dread the thought, if more companies are permitted to be self-insured. I dread the outcome for the employees of these companies that might sustain injuries while at work. Wish I can expose the cruelty to Injured Workers by self-insured employers to the parliament. I do not posses the capability to it.
    The latest physical injury to already existing one, in my cervical spine happened a week ago. Happened in a taxi I had booked for my dental appointment. I must mention here, that every service I book, somehow is filled by contractors of the WC Insurer or their associates. The taxi took off even before I could shut the door, fasten my seatbelt, place my neck and back support (I have not been able to travel in a vehicle, without these support items for the last 12 yrs). The taxi driver’s attitude of disrespect was the trademark of the Tradespeople I get sent by WC Ins contractors. I will be seeing a doctor tomorrow for the weakness and pain and return of the symptoms that was there five years ago. I am living in fear, as this organisation is brazen enough to physically harm their clients. Especially, even after final settlement etc. I have in my possession, paperwork as proof of personal vendetta by my employer’s self-insured WC Insurer. When I wrote in to department of Minister etc, I even received threatening phone call, warning me not to call or write to this particular ministers office in Canberra. I strongly believe, the call was not from the minister’s office but the WC Insurer’s Associates/advocate ‘s office. Disabled and , isolated like me, where do we go, what do we do to stop this madness inflicted upon us injured workers by employer’s who are self insured? I believe, someone, way high up in the Privacy Commissioner’s Office or Attorney General’s dept got paid off by my employer to have complete access to my phone, and computer and GPS etc. Those I have approached, to investigate my allegation, stop short and seen not wanting to expose those involved.

    I know, you will totally understand my fears and frustrations. has anyone among you have any ideas who I could turn to for advise. -All I am after is that they stop all the interference in my medical treatments and reinstate my violating my Privacy and Human Right.

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    • I doubt they have enough connections to influence everyone. Why don’t you choose the treatment providers? They can’t stop you. The only real barrier is if a provider is not registered with the Scheme. When I have had problems in the past I will sometimes pay for the Service and then Claim it back. That takes the control away from them. Why can’t you pursue discrimination, bullying etc? You can’t contract out of a Statuatory entitlement from what I’ve been told (although with Common Law Settlements there must be some Clause but I have never seen one).

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      • This begs an interesting question…..has anyone been down the path of pursuing discrimination, bullying, harassment etc because of the treatment they have received???

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        • @Harry – I am not sure whether you refer to ‘suing’ your case manager / workcover insurance carrier for acting in ‘bad faith‘? You probably have heard about successful claims made in the US and in Canada against workcover insurers for acting in bad faith. The question is are such claims fact or fiction for insurers in Australia? The sad news is Australia does not recognise the tort of acting in bad faith. Further, there is no term implied in a workers compensation insurance contract that the insurer must act in good faith. See: http://aworkcovervictimsdiary.com/2011/10/bad-faith-claim-against-workcover-insurance-company/
          and articles under ‘bad faith’

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          Workcovervictim3 August 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm