What you NEED to know about the WA Workers Compensation Changes

If you haven’t heard by now, Western Australia is set to overhaul its workers compensation laws with the introduction of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023, scheduled to take effect from 1st July 2024.

What is the point of the overhaul?

This bill aims to modernise the state’s workers compensation system, bringing with it significant changes that will impact both employers and employees.

So what are the key changes that are coming?

Key Changes for Employees

  • Enhanced Financial Support – One of the biggest changes for employees is the doubling of the medical and health expenses limit, in addition to the duration before workers weekly compensation payments step down has been extended from 13 to 26 weeks.
  • Comprehensive Coverage for Catastrophic Injuries – Workers who suffer catastrophic injuries in the workplace will now be covered under the Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme – formerly limited to motor vehicle accidents.
  • Revised Calculation of Weekly Income – The calculation of weekly income for compensation purposes will now be based on either the: workers earnings for one year ending the day before the injury occurred, or; the period from the start of employment to the day before the injury – if less than one year.

Key Changes for Employers

  • Increased Penalties for Non-Compliance – Penalties for non-compliance with workers compensation laws will double from $5,000 to $10,000 per employee – in an effort to encourage adherence to the new regulations.
  • Refined Exclusion of Stress-Related Claims – Stress-related claims arising from reasonable administrative actions – such as formal performance reviews – will be excluded from workers compensation coverage.
  • Extended Timeframe for Claim Processing – Employers will now have 7 days to submit workers’ claims to their insurer after receiving them, instead of the previous 5 days.

What are the potential impacts of this new bill?

The new legislation is aimed at a balance between the rights of the injured workers and the responsibility of employers.

Employers may face increased costs due to the extended duration of weekly compensation payments and higher medical expense limits. However, the refined exclusion of stress-related claims could potentially reduce the number of claims and associated costs.

Employees on the other hand, stand to benefit from enhanced financial support, comprehensive coverage for catastrophic injuries, and a fairer calculation of weekly income.

As the effective date of the new legislation approaches, it is crucial for both employers and employees to stay informed about the changes and seek professional guidance to navigate the new workers’ compensation laws in Western Australia.

Stay tuned for our next article on how you can prepare for the introduction of the new act as an employer.