NSW workers’ compo set to change

by Stephanie Zillman23 Apr 2012

A public servant who was injured while having sex on a work trip has won a compensation case – the Federal Government employee was injured when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above her bed in her motel room.

The incident took place in a motel room in a country New South Wales town in 2007, and the woman said the light hit her in the face, injuring her nose, mouth and a tooth and also prompted a psychiatric disorder.

The Government's workplace safety body, ComCare, rejected the woman's compensation claim and its decision was also upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. However, after appealing the decision in Federal Court, the judge overturned previous findings and ordered her employer to pay compensation as well as her court costs. Judge John Nicholas said the appeals tribunal had been wrong in saying the woman had to prove her injury had been caused by an activity that had been “implied” or “encouraged” by her employer, pointing to an example that if the woman had been injured playing cards in her motel room she would receive compensation, and that the incident was no different. “There will be an order that the tribunal's decision be set aside. I shall also make a declaration that the injuries suffered by the applicant on November 27, 2007 were suffered by her in the course of her employment,” he said.

Compo cut flagged by NSW government

The O'Farrell government has indicated its intention to overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation requirements, flagging an end to weekly benefits from the scheme after a set period, and decreasing lump-sum payments.

An official announcement is expected to take place this week, and according to The Sun-Herald the changes would include:

  • Abolishing lump-sum payments for injured workers with “less than 10% whole-body impairment” (therefore excluding payment for injuries such as a fused ankle or back and neck injuries not requiring surgery)
  • A cut-off after 2½ years (or 130 weeks) for weekly payments for those considered to be partially injured.
  • A limit of nine years for all entitlements except for people who are “totally incapacitated”
  • Currently in NSW injured workers receive 100% of their ordinary pay for the first 26 weeks off work but under the reforms there would be a sliding scale under which injured workers could collect 90% of their wage. After 13 weeks, that would fall to 80% before reverting to the statutory rate.


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