The WorkCover SA scheme which is being rebranded as Return to Work SA, is already showing improvements with fewer injured workers on long(er) term benefits. Mr Rau -Industrial Relations Minister- also said the changes made so far had already reduced the unfunded liability (from 1.4 billion) to about $1 billion. Hard to believe indeed!
Rebranded WorkCover SA shows improvements as fewer injured employees on benefits for long periods
Lauren Novak | Political Reporter
Fewer injured employees are relying on WorkCover SA benefits for long periods following changes to the workers compensation scheme, latest figures show.
As of December last year, 2053 fewer people remained on WorkCover SA claims than at the same time the previous year.
There are almost 4750 people on claims ranging from two weeks to more than two and a half years.
Authorities say the improvement in the historically poor-performing scheme is the result of
kicking injured workers off the scheme, ripping injured workers of by lowball ‘settlements‘ changes over the past 18 months, including “earlier intervention” and more face-to-face support for workers. [Really?!]
Industrial Relations Minister John Rau said he expected even better outcomes when an overhauled workers compensation scheme takes effect from July 1.
Under the new scheme, injured workers will be eligible for regular compensation payments for a maximum of two years, after which time payments will be scaled down according to a worker’s level of impairment.
Seriously injured workers will remain eligible for financial support for life.
Return to Work SA has written to about 900 people who are on the existing scheme to offer them the chance to effectively cash out when the new scheme takes effect.
They would be eligible to receive a one-off lump sum payment, instead of continuing to receive weekly payments, in a bid to clear hundreds of people off the books to coincide with the start of the new regime.
Late last year MPs passed legislation that proposed a “complete rewrite” of WorkCover.
The Government says it will save the business community $180 million a year, lower premiums and wipe $1.4 billion off the scheme’s unfunded liability.
The premium paid by employers has fallen from about 3.3 per cent to 2.8 per cent and Mr Rau said it was “on track” to drop to about 2 per cent when the new rules take effect.
Return to Work SA chief executive officer Greg McCarthy said there was a “ceiling on just how much improvement” could be achieved under the existing scheme and the planned reforms were needed to get the best results for workers.
Mr McCarthy said there had been a “lack of confidence in the past” in the ability of WorkCover SA to deliver results but the latest figures showed it was making progress.
Mr Rau said there was “no doubt a complete overhaul of the scheme was needed to bring about the big changes we want to see, but we did already make changes where we could to the existing WorkCover scheme”.
Originally published as WorkCover changes show improvement to scheme