The coronavirus pandemic disarranged the world’s order. Although the regulations were made in a good manner to avoid the spread in the community, COVID-19 restrictions, social spacing and lockdowns made an impact on every branch of every business. Recently, the State of NSW modified the Workers Compensation Act to authorize the workers of several industries to be eligible to make compensation claims. Within the scope of Workers Compensation Act, almost all healthcare professionals, employees of educational institutions, employees of the service industry, waiters and waitresses, supermarket employees and transport service employees are eligible to claim compensation, as well as many other employees of different business branches.
COVID 19 and workers compensation
According to Safe Work Australia, many Covid-19 related workers compensation claims were made during the pandemic. While the vast majority of the claims were made by those who work in the health sector; the statistics demonstrate that the community workers and medical employees suffered a lot more than the employees of other sectors. With the recent modifications to the Act, employees contracted the disease in the course of their employment due to Covid-19 exposure, can claim compensation. However, to be eligible to make a claim, it is strictly required to contract the coronavirus in the workplace.
Employer responsibilities against COVID-19
Throughout the pandemic, the employers have a duty to provide safety to their employees and protection from the virus. These regulations are mostly common in every workplace, however, can show an alteration depending on what industry the business is. Employers that neglect these regulations can be faced with legal sanctions.
It is expected from the employers to progress a successful risk management process to eliminate predictable risk factors and maintain the work environment in a manner to avoid exposure to COVID-19. A risk management plan should include what measures should be taken to eliminate the risk, actions required to avoid the spread of the infection if an employee is contracted with the disease, and the evaluation of the risk. Exposure to coronavirus is determined as an obvious risk by the laws. For this reason, these precautions are not optional. A breach of this duty might lead to serious violation of laws.
With the assistance of a workplace safety specialist, the employer should manage a work plan for their employees. Regarding their ages and health condition records, employees in higher-risk groups should be determined by the employers. Once the necessary data is collected, in compliance with the regulations of the relevant State, necessary procedures should be applied in the workplace. Differs between States, these regulations might be personal spacing, the workload of employees, customer density and such regulations that can minimise the exposure to COVID-19.
Financial loss due to COVID-19
Workers Compensation Independent Review Office – WIRO, clearly states that workers infected with COVID-19 and suffered financial difficulties as well as non-minor health problems can make a workers compensation claim. Coronavirus is notorious for being a lethal infection which can easily evolve into serious and permanent lung diseases. If the employee is infected during the course of employment, their loss can be compensable. Additionally, coronavirus related mental health compensation claims have reached to unignorable numbers.
COVID-19 legal advice
As of January 2021, the number of coronavirus causalities has exceeded 2 million worldwide. Although the death rate of coronavirus cases is around 3 per cent, the virus can easily cause internal deformations and organ failures. For this reason, a decrease in the earning capacity and permanent impairment is among the possibilities. If you are suffering financial loss or mental injuries due to coronavirus, you can seek legal advice to understand the criteria and how the process works.