Have you wondered if you can claim workers compensation for injuries as a rural worker?
In NSW, all employers must take out Workers Compensation insurance to cover their employees in case of workplace injury.
When an injury occurs, the first step taken by the insurer is to determine if the injured person is a “worker” before workers compensation payments can be paid.
The Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW) (‘the Act) defines a worker as a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or a training contract with an employer (whether by way of manual labour, clerical work or otherwise, and whether the contract is expressed or implied, and whether the contract is oral or in writing).
However, rural working arrangements may not always fit this definition, especially in circumstances where the arrangement is informal and/or involves employment on a “contracting” basis.
The Act provides for people who engage in “rural work” but are not considered an employee to be classified as “deemed workers” who may be entitled to claim workers compensation benefits.
Rural work can include supplying, hauling and loading timber (including sleepers, piles, poles and logs); felling or ringbarking trees, or cutting scrub; clearing land including stumps or logs; erecting, constructing, demolishing, assisting work involved with fencing, yard or enclosures for animals on farms, orchards, vineyards or agricultural or pastoral holdings; cutting sugar cane and classes of work normally performed by derrick operators or in connection with the transport of sugar cane to a mill; and any other work prescribed by the regulations.
This can apply to any worker employed by a contractor who is engaged in an
agreement to perform the work.
Be mindful that workers compensation claims should be made within six months of the date of the injury. Claims made after six months will require an explanation as to why the claim was not made. Claims made more than three years after the injury may fail completely unless limited criteria can be satisfied.
The workers compensation scheme is designed to financially assist injured workers who are burdened with medical expenses and decreased earning capacity as a result of their work-related injury.
Workers compensation benefits can cover financial loss such as loss of earnings, medical or related treatment, hospital treatment, ambulance service and workplace rehabilitation services. Associated travel expenses may also be covered.