COVID-19 UPDATE

  • Newsletter Article
  • Published 07.05.2020

Workers Compensation Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (NSW) 

This Regulation came into force on 17 April 2020. 

The Regulation permits second and subsequent Certificates of Capacity to be issued by appropriately qualified physiotherapists or psychologists who are treating the worker for their injury. Previously, under Section 44B of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, only medical practitioners were able to issue such Certificates.

The Regulation will remain in force for a period of 12 months, unless repealed earlier. 

Amendments to the NSW Workers Compensation Guidelines

SIRA has made amendments to the NSW Workers Compensation Guidelines. The Amendments are designed to reduce regulatory barriers and provide additional clarity for insurers regarding their approach to arranging work capacity assessment appointments and independent medical examinations (IMEs) during the current pandemic. 

Of particular note is a new requirement that in respect of work capacity assessment appointments and IMEs, an insurer must consider amendments to existing laws and public health orders made in response to COVID-19 when determining if the requirement to attend an appointment is reasonable.

The amendments also remove the requirement to obtain pre-approval for telehealth. 

A table of key changes can be found here.

National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles

On 24 April 2020 the National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles were announced. This newsletter contains a detailed article setting out the Principles and what employers need to do to ensure compliance. 

JobCover6 Program

SIRA has announced the new JobCover6 program. The program provides an incentive payment of up to $400 per week to an employer who can provide a worker with a short-term work opportunity during the COVID-19 crisis. The incentive payments can be paid up to a maximum of 26 weeks ($10,400).

Guidance material for the JobCover6 program can be found here: https://www.sira.nsw.gov.au/resources-library/workers-compensation-resources/publications/help-with-getting-people-back-to-work/jobcover6-supporting-recovery-at-work-during-the-covid-19-period.

Connect2Work Program

SIRA has also announced the new Connect2Work Program. Connect2Work is a voluntary short-term work placement with a host employer. It supports recovery at work for workers where:

  • their pre-injury employer is unable to offer suitable work due to COVID-19 or
  • they are looking for new employment.

The program provides host employers with a payment of $200 per week (up to a maximum $2,400).

Guidance material for the Connect2Work Program can be found here.

Reporting of COVID-19 Workers Compensation Claims

SIRA is continuing to share data related to COVID-19 workers compensation claims. A link to the data is here. The data is updated daily by SIRA.

Adele Fletcher

Partner

P: 02 8257 5708

Email Adele