Workers' compensation changes come a step closer

Significant changes are soon to be introduced that will impact the way in which workers seek compensation for injuries sustained while on the job. The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 was passed by Parliament on September 17 and is now seeking assent before it becomes legislation. Its introduction is likely to leave many of the nation's businesses in search of an employment lawyer as they discover how it will impact their operations.

Among the changes is that the current limitation on workers' entitlement to seek damages would be lifted. At present, a permanent impairment of at least 5 per cent must be demonstrated for all injuries sustained at work.

Further amendments also mean firefighters will be able to claim if they suffer from one of 12 specified diseases, providing it has been obtained through their line of work. Potential employees will no longer be required to supply evidence of the history of their compensation claims when applying for roles.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has suggested that some of the measures could have a negative impact on small business operations. It reflected on legislative changes brought into force in 2013, which the group believes had more of a positive impact on the corporate landscape. Two years ago, a threshold was introduced for common law claims.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said: "This undoubtedly had a positive impact on average premiums payable by employers through the scheme, which ultimately encourages small business in Queensland to invest in their business and employ more staff."

If you are interested to learn how this Bill is going to affect your operations, speak to the legal experts at McCarthy Durie Lawyers. We are up to date on all the latest legislation and can help your business stay on the right side of the law.