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Published: 26 June 2013
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas

Insecure work and you

Part 2: Calculating your WorkCover benefits as a casual

In Part 1 of this series - Casuals do have WorkCover rights - I wrote about the corrosive effect that the growing trend towards casual labour is having on health & safety standards in the workplace.

One of the major misconceptions held by casual and labour hire workers is that they are not entitled to much of a benefit under WorkCover even if they do lodge a claim. The key here is calculating the number hours you have been working recently. The more hours, the larger your benefit.

Furthermore, if your boss is not willing to give you replacement duties as a result of injury, you will be entitled to weekly compensation payments while off work.

So don't be discouraged from claiming, even if you are a casual or labour hire worker.

If you've worked for more than 12 months, average the number of hours worked each week over the 52 weeks prior to your injury. If you are less than 12 months into your job, calculate the average number of hours since you started, including work done with other employers.

Your entitlements or benefits will include weekly payments of compensation while incapacitated.

If the injury is permanent, you may lodge an impairment claim.

Furthermore, if the injury was sustained through negligence, either by your employer for not training you in your job, or by your host employer's actions, you may claim for damages based on pain and suffering and loss of future potential income. These are typically very large sums of money.

You may feel reluctant to make an injury claim if you're casual or hired through a labour hire company, but there are protections for you in the law. Know your rights. If you are in a union, inform your delegate. If not, tell your health and safety rep. Or seek legal help.

Next week in Part 3: Casual workers do have rights

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