How do I claim WorkCover benefits as a casual?
Many people employed as casuals or by labour hire firms are uncertain about whether they are covered by WorkCover should they be injured at work.
Given the often uncertain and erratic nature of such work, some people naturally assume that they don't have the same workplace insurance cover as permanents, in the same way that they often do not enjoy holiday leave or sick leave.
The fact is that casuals and labour hire workers have exactly the same workplace protection as permanents. An employer who tells you that you are not covered if you have been hurt is wrong. Of course, he or she might really be admitting that they have not been paying WorkCover premiums, which, if true, is illegal and they can be prosecuted.
However, even if this is the case, you are still covered by WorkCover if injured and need temporary income replacement and financial help with your medical expenses.
What often stands in the way of casuals and labour hire workers submitting injury claims is the insecure nature of their jobs – if you were to put in an injury claim then perhaps the boss takes a sudden interest in your suitability for the role. It is understandable why some workers are therefore cautious about admitting injury, but you can be confident that the law is on your side. It is illegal to sack a worker simply because they have submitted a WorkCover claim.
What is the process to claim WorkCover benefits as a casual (or labour hire firm employee)?
Steps to take if injured:
- Notify your doctor that you have been injured at work. Note, you are not required to accept your employer’s choice of doctor
- Report your injury at work by filling in the company’s injury book. Important: there are often injury books at both the host employer firm and at the labor hire agency firm. Fill in both
- Tell your union delegate if you are unionist, or your OH&S rep if you are not
- If the injury is severe, lodge a claim form with WorkCover.
It's not always easy trying to submit an injury claim if you work in a labour hire or casual position. But, you are protected under law and owe it to yourself and your family to do so.