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Published: 10 January 2014
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas

Threatened with redundancy? Don't delay a WorkCover claim

Companies are still laying off record numbers of workers.

Some workers are carrying injuries because they don't want to make themselves targets for redundancies.

But if you have been putting off making a WorkCover compo claim and you are under threat of retrenchment, it pays to re-consider that claim. Because changes to the law mean that you can now be paid out a redundancy AND receive weekly income payments from WorkCover, if you are injured.

Here are some matters to consider.

1. If you have been holding back on making a WorkCover injury claim because you wanted to protect your job, but you are then made redundant, you will almost certainly lose your right to lodge a claim once you are laid off. (There are exceptions, but they are tricky.) And once that happens, you'll have nothing to fall back on once the redundancy package is spent. You won't even have access to medical help.

2. If you are worried that putting in an injury claim will make you a target for redundancy, you are gambling with an opportunity to be retrained for a new job. I know of many workers who are concerned that lodging an injury claim will make if more difficult for them to find a new job. It is true that employers are reluctant to hire people with injury records. But if you have been in restricted or light duties and you are carrying some sort of injury, you are more likely to be asked about it when applying for a new job than ever before. If you are specifically questioned in writing and you don’t inform your new boss that you have been injured, and you then go on to exacerbate that injury, WorkCover may not cover you.

That's right, failure to disclose an existing injury to a new employer can exempt that employer from assisting you and will shut the WorkCover benefits door in your face.

3. A big change in the law now means that you can claim WorkCover weekly payments and medical help, without having any deductions whatsoever made to your redundancy package. Once, you would have only had access to WorkCover weekly payments once you had served a waiting period that depended on the size of your payout. Now you can have both. And of course, you continue to have access to all the extra help like medical expenses, specialists, tests, rehab, home help and so on.

4. Finally, if you are seriously interested in finding new employment in a non-blue collar job for example, WorkCover may offer you an occupational specialist to help with your retraining and educational expenses. This is highly valuable and free assistance that wouldn't be available if you were on your own.

If the cloud of redundancy is hanging over your head and you've been carrying an injury, you really ought to get that WorkCover claim lodged as soon as possible.

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