The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other
Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 was passed in the Queensland
Parliament on Thursday night, despite being hotly contested.
The Bill makes a number of changes to the Workers'
Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) that will
benefit employers, which include:
requiring a prospective worker to disclose a pre-existing
injury or medical condition, if requested to do so;
allowing employers access to a prospective worker's claims
history in particular circumstances; and
increasing the threshold for compensable psychiatric or
These changes will commence upon assent. We will keep you
updated when this occurs.
Notification of previous injuries and medical conditions
When requested to do so in writing by a prospective employer, a
prospective worker will be required to disclose all pre-existing
injuries of which they are aware of, that could reasonably be
aggravated by performing their employment related duties.
The prospective employer will need to provide the prospective
worker with information about the nature of the duties the subject
of the employment for this purpose. Prospective employers will also
be required to advise prospective workers that, if they do not
comply with the request or supply false or misleading information,
they will not be entitled to compensation or damages under the Act
for any event that aggravates the non-disclosed pre-existing
If a prospective worker is engaged prior to the disclosure (or
before being requested to make the disclosure), their rights will
unaffected by these changes.
Allowing access to claims history
Prospective employers may now request a prospective worker's
claims history summary from the proposed new regulator (for an
administrative fee), provided that they have the prospective
employee's consent. There is no requirement under the Act for
prospective workers to provide such consent.
The prospective employer must not disclose the contents of, or
give access to, the document to anyone else.
Psychiatric and psychological injury
A worker will now need to show, in order to be eligible for
workers' compensation, that an injury resulting in a
psychiatric or psychological disorder (or an aggravation of an
existing disorder) arose out of, or in the course of, employment
and that the employment is the major significant contributing
factor to the injury or aggravation.
This amendment makes it more difficult for workers to access
compensation for a psychiatric or psychological disorder.
A word of caution!
While these changes will provide prospective employers with more
information about a prospective worker, it is important that
comply with the specific provisions of the Act to obtain this
clearly and accurately articulate the nature of the duties the
subject of employment so as to make any disclosure meaningful;
be careful not to fall foul of the discrimination legislation
when making decisions based on this information.
As any unlawful conduct in this area is likely to have serious
consequences, we recommend that employers obtain advice and
assistance before implementing these changes.
Winner – EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Citation 2009,
2010, 2011 and 2012
Winner – ALB Gold Employer of Choice 2011 and 2012
Finalist – ALB Australasian Law Awards 2008, 2010, 2011 and
2012 (Best Brisbane Firm)
Winner – BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 and 2010 - Best
Australian Law Firm (revenue less than $50m)
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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