As a part of broader legislation introduced into Parliament by the Victorian Government in response to COVID-19, the Victorian Parliament has passed an amendment to the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (the Act).

The Act has been amended to include an extension of the notice period for the termination of weekly payments after a second entitlement period determination pursuant to Section 191 of the Act. The Act will now provide up to six months of weekly WorkCover payments to workers who are due to transition off weekly WorkCover payments and who are unable to return to work or find work because of their injury. The period has increased from 13 to 39 weeks.

Currently under the Act, incapacitated workers may receive payments for up to 130 weeks at 80 per cent of their weekly earnings prior to injury. Payments after such time are terminated on 13 weeks' notice if the second entitlement period determination does not find that the worker remains unable to work for the foreseeable future.

The Explanatory Memorandum states that the changes are in recognition of the compounding effect of COVID-19 on the "increased barriers long-term injured workers already face" in finding a new job or returning to work and that the increased notice period from 13 to 39 weeks will give such workers "an opportunity to make arrangements, both financial and work, in preparation for the termination of weekly payments".

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