Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016
In October 2013, the Newman government made further amendments
to the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003
(Qld) (Act) designed to reduce workers'
compensation costs for all employers in Queensland.
The latest amendments follow on from a change in the definition
of who is a "worker" for compensation purposes under the
Act, which commenced on 1 July 2013 and clarified the status of
sole trader contractors by aligning the definition of
"worker" with that of an "employee" for the
purposes of withholding PAYG tax under the Taxation
Administration Act 1953 (Cth).
The key amendments
The key amendments to the Act include:
preventing workers whose injury is assessed with a degree of
permanent impairment of 5% or less from making a claim for common
a more rigorous test for workers seeking compensation for
psychiatric and psychological injuries
raising the wages threshold above which an employer must engage
a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator and maintain a
workplace rehabilitation policy
the ability for employers to request details of a prospective
worker's medical and compensation claims history during the
Relevance to agribusiness
The ability to obtain details of a prospective worker's
pre-existing medical conditions and claims history will potentially
be of particular advantage to employers in the agribusiness sector,
where many jobs require the performance of strenuous, physical
work. The ability to assess a prospective worker's fitness for
such work may assist employers to lower the rate of injury once
However, all employers must be careful with how they use the
medical information collected during the recruitment process, to
ensure they do not engage in conduct that breaches state and
federal anti-discrimination laws.
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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