Employers will have to be better equipped to handle staff returning to work from illness and provide better income protection, following a review of Victoria’s workers’ compensation system.
The Victorian Parliament yesterday passed the Accident Compensation Amendment Act 2009, which contains significant reforms to the workers’ compensation legislation affecting Victorian employees.
Peter Hanks QC’s review recommended that employers must install better processes to help employees transition back to work after illness.
Under the proposed reforms, return to work duties will have to be planned more carefully in consultation with the worker and with assistance from a specific return to work coordinator.
These duties would have to be expressed in the same way general work duties are under occupational health and safety legislation, with penalties of up to $100,000 in place for employers who fail to meet these guidelines.
Elsewhere in the review, Hanks highlighted the need for greater clarification of the phrase ‘reasonable management action’ in relation to stress claims, better income protection to injured employees, and increased benefits for dependants of workers killed at work.