The State Government is taking into consideration the possibility of stopping compensation for journey and recess claims. This may be in response to the 6000 cases last year that have cost the WorkCover scheme $50 million. Attorney-General Jarrod Blejie will be receiving increased pressure to introduce WorkCover reforms from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).
One of these reforms include stripping staff from the right to sue employers for minor injuries that have been suffered in the workplace. CCIQ also want journey claims to stop so that businesses can cut its premiums to employers who pay a worker's compensation premium based on wages, industry classification and past claims. Workplaces in Southeast Queensland has the most claims according to statistics.
Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams called for the Newman Government to accept the recommendations of its own Parliamentary committee, which advised the status quo should remain. He argued that the Queensland's scheme was fair and sustainable and that workers would be adversely effective if the Government stopped provisions to journey and recess claims:
"The nature of our state is that people have to travel long distances to get to work on bad roads...Many of them have no choice.''
How May This Change Affect You?
A: All workers in Queensland are protected by the scheme under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.
For a journey claim, you may be compensated for injuries occurring during your journey between your home and workplace because those injuries may be deemed to arise out of your employment.
The 'journey' from/to a worker's home starts or ends at the boundary of the land where the home is situated. Compensation will not be given for injuries arising where the injury occurs during or after a substantial delay before the worker starts the journey. For example, picking up your child from school would not generally be considered to be a substantial interruption or deviation from the journey because it is a habitual custom a parent often does prior to going to work.
If the reforms pass. You may no longer be able to claim for injuries in this particular circumstance.