WorkCover changes: the battle is not over

The battle over WorkCover changes rages on. The latest round has to do with leave entitlements, according to a leaked email from a WorkCover official, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, via AAP newswires.

According to the correspondence, authorities “had reversed its policy of allowing annual leave to accrue for people on workers compensation, following a request from the Australian Federation of Employers and Industries.”

This has outraged unions, who want the NSW Government to promise not to change any part of workers’ compensation that would interfere with entitlements for employees on compensation leave. Previously, workers who received compensation benefits in NSW were allowed to accrue holiday and long-service leave.

Since the leaked email has been made public, WorkCover officials have confirmed that they are indeed considering the changes and have promised that the employers' group and Finance Minister Greg Pearce would be informed of any proposed changes.

This hasn’t satisfied workers or union representatives, whose general overall feeling is that “sick and injured workers have suffered enough."

In June, a slew of unpopular changes were made to WorkCover. The changes were designed to shore up the NSW workers compensation scheme, ensuring that it is financially sustainable into the future said Premier Barry O'Farrell.

In 2011, the end of year report showed a $4 billion deficit, which government officials have worked to close by slashing worker benefits – across the public and private sectors.

The newly adopted WorkCover measures include putting a cap on medical benefits and nixing journey claims, among others.

 

This article also appeared on Safe to Work, another Reed Business Information news site.

Image source: ACTU Factsheet: Types of Leave and Public Holidays