Recent Announcement: Increase in Workers’ Compensation Premiums for Queensland

Australia has 11 workers’ compensation schemes, each governed by different laws. In Queensland, WorkSafe Queensland regulates the scheme, while WorkCover Queensland, a government-owned but self-funded insurer, manages claims. In this article, we aim to highlight the recent announcement of a premium increase in Queensland’s workers’ compensation rates.

Workers Compensation Premiums

WorkCover Qld have just announced that the average net premium rate for 2024 – 2025 will move from $1.29 to $1.34 per $100 of wages, after discounts. Whilst this is an increase, WorkCover Qld has one of the lowest average premium rates in Australia due to positive return to work initiatives employers have implemented to help their workers after sustaining a workplace injury.

The largest costing claims impacting employers’ premiums relate to mental injuries, in 2022 – 2023 mental injury claims were up 28% compared to the previous year. These trends are also consistent across other jurisdictions. WorkCover Qld offers a Workers Psychological Support Service which is a free, confidential and independent callback service where Queenslanders who are struggling mentally due to an injury at work can access support from a social worker. This service can be accessed by calling 1800 370 732. Further information about this service can be found in the guidance material link in this article.

Premium Management Tips for Retailers

WorkCover premiums can be managed by improving your safety culture and reducing workplace injuries and illnesses. Claim costs, specifically costs relating to weekly compensation payments are a key driver of premiums, this is best managed by supporting a worker’s return to work with early intervention strategies, collaborative return to work planning and offers of suitable duties. Essentially, the faster a worker gets back to work safely, the lower the claim costs and impact on the premium.

WorkCover Queensland Employer Obligations

In addition to this announcement, we wanted to take this opportunity to ensure your retail business is aware of its broader obligations for workers’ compensation in Queensland.

Insurance: Employers must register for workers’ compensation insurance and pay premiums annually. Renew policies by declaring wages and paying premiums between July 1 and September 30 each year. Insurance covers all employees, including full-time, part-time, and casual workers, for both physical and psychological injuries.

Rehabilitation & Return to Work Coordinator: If your annual wages exceed 5,200 times QOTE, or you are in a high-risk industry with wages exceeding 2,600 times QOTE, you must appoint a coordinator. The coordinator must be based in Queensland, contracted, and qualified. You also need workplace rehabilitation policies and procedures.

Injury Reporting: Report all workplace injuries to WorkCover Queensland within 8 business days. Use the WorkCover Connect portal or call 1300 362 128. Inform injured workers about their right to lodge a claim and support them in accessing medical and rehabilitation services. Cooperate with any WorkSafe Queensland investigations.

Injury Management & Return to Work: Contact injured workers promptly and maintain communication. Develop a return-to-work plan in consultation with the worker and their doctor, adjusting duties based on medical advice. Do not dismiss an injured worker within 12 months solely because they are not fit for work.

Record Keeping and Confidentiality: Maintain accurate records of injuries, claims, and return-to-work plans. Ensure all injury-related information is kept confidential.

Guidance Material

The below links include resources with further information around workers compensation legislation:

 

Disclaimer: The material within this update is provided for general information and educational purposes in summary form on topics that are current when it is first published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such.

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