Public sector workers stop work

Jeannette Liva - local PSA delegate in front some of the other PSA members after stop-work meeeting at the GDSC Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Jeannette Liva - local PSA delegate in front some of the other PSA members after stop-work meeeting at the GDSC Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

SOME 200 public sector workers stopped work to meet at Grafton District Services Club this morning to voice their concerns over the O'Farrell Government's attack on working conditions.

Loss of penalty rates, leave loading and reduced holiday entitlements are just three of many concerns which prompted today's state-wide stop work meeting of the Public Sector Association.

Delegates from Corrective Services, National Parks and Wildlife, Community Services and School and Administrative Support addressed the Grafton meeting.

More in tomorrow's Daily Examiner.

Below is a copy of a NSW Government document which outlines some of the changes to Workers Compensation benefits which passed through the NSW Parliament on June 27.

To address an estimated $4 billion deficit, the NSW Government has introduced a number of reforms which will significantly impact injured workers' entitlements to compensation and the way in which claims are managed.

Some of the reforms took effect on assent on 27 June 2012.

Other reforms will not take effect until the NSW Government proclaims a commencement date.

The information provided below is an overview of the legislative changes which took effect on assent on 27 June 2012 to the Workers Compensation scheme.

This is preliminary summary pending further information from WorkCover NSW.

Journey Claims Any off duty worker who is injured in an incident travelling between their home and workplace will only be able to make a claim for workers compensation if there is a real and substantial connection between their employment and the incident out of which the injury arose.

This applies to injuries received on or after 19 June 2012.

Medical Expenses With limited exceptions, there will be no entitlements to reimbursement for the cost of any medical treatment or services incurred by an injured worker which were not previously approved by an insurer.

There will also be no entitlement to reimbursement for travel expenses related to any medical treatment or service if travel is more than is reasonably necessary to obtain the medical treatment or service.

For existing claims, the 12 month period commenced from 27 June 2012.

Disease, Heart Attack and Stroke Injuries Heart attacks and strokes are now only covered under Workers Compensation if the nature of the employment gave rise to a significantly greater risk of the worker suffering the injury.

For a disease injury, the workers employment must be the main contributing factor.

This applies to injuries received on or after 19 June 2012. Permanent Impairment Claims Lump sum payments have been simplified into a single one-off payment if the injury is more than 10% whole person impairment for physical injuries.

The threshold for psychological injury lump sum payments is unchanged at 15%.

The changes to the Act have also made it clear that a worker's employment activity must be the main contributing factor to the injury.

Payments for pain and suffering are no longer available.

These changes apply to all claims made post 19 June 2012.

Return to Work Obligations Injured workers and their employers need to work together to ensure the best possible return to work outcomes.

This means that a worker who is able to work must, in cooperation with the employer or insurer, make reasonable efforts to return to work in suitable employment, and may request the employer to provide such suitable employment.

If a worker fails to meet their obligations, they may have their weekly benefits suspended.

The employer must comply with this request so far as it is practicable.

Under the new legislation, WorkCover NSW inspectors are now authorised to issue Improvement Notices if they believe the employer is not meeting their obligations in this regard.

Impact of the Changes

Further changes will come into effect when the NSW Government proclaims a commencement date for the other reforms.

This will include changes to wages and medical payment entitlements.

Work has already commenced with relevant stakeholders to identify amended processes for our IT systems including SIMS, AS400, and SAP.

Where possible the systems will be updated in line with the legislative changes.

Future updates and planned changes will be communicated in upcoming bulletins as more information is made available.

Topics:  job cuts, public sector workers, stop work meeting, strike

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