The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every facet of life and society, and insurance is no exception. In the height of the pandemic, there were still thousands of Australian’s considered ‘front line workers’ who had no choice but to continue to interact with society and put themselves at risk of infection.

So what happens if a worker contracts COVID-19? Here’s everything you need to know.

Generally speaking, employees may eligible for worker’s compensation if they have been exposed to and contracted COVID-19 in the course of their employment. However, there are a few main criteria that you must meet during the claims process:

  • they must be diagnosed with COVID-19
  • the exposure to COVID-19 occurred in the work environment
  • their employment must have contributed to a substantial degree.

This seems simple enough, however, because COVID-19 is a highly transmissible disease, it can be difficult to prove that the window of infection occurred during their employment.

Earlier in the year, the NSW Parliament passed an amendment to the Worker’s Compensation Act which made it easier to establish the link between COVID-19 and certain types of employment. That is, for those working in these professions, it will be assumed they contracted the virus while working, effectively meeting several key criteria.

These include:

  • the retail industry (excluding on-line)
  • the health care sector, including public health employees
  • police and emergency services
  • firefighters (including rural fire services)
  • ambulance officers
  • educational institutions, including pre-schools, schools and tertiary institutions
  • the cleaning industry
  • the construction industry
  • restaurants, clubs and hotels
  • disability and aged care facilities
  • refuges, halfway houses and shelters
  • passenger transport services
  • courts and tribunals
  • correctional and detention centres
  • places of public entertainment or instruction (including cinemas, museums, galleries, cultural institutions and casinos).

The most important thing for you to do as an employer is maintain safe practices, social distancing and, if an infection does occur, support your team member throughout their claim process.

For more information on COVID-19 and worker’s compensation by state, visit the links below.

Queensland
Western Australia
Victoria
NSW
South Australia
Northern Territory
Tasmania
ACT

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