Casual and part-time workers: Injury claims during COVID
Many casual and part-time workers have been hit hard during COVID-19, but an injured worker should never fear putting in written notification for an injury at work. I explain why.
By their very nature, labour contracts offer only insecure work, so much so that many workers employed on them are reluctant to even lodge WorkCover claims.
This is because they fear risking their jobs when they have already been made insecure by the impact of the pandemic.
Under these circumstances, if you have been unfortunate enough to have been hurt or injured at work, you may be reluctant to report the matter to WorkCover for fear of being seen as a trouble maker.
The problem is that if you are injured at work and you do not report it by lodging a proper claim form, not only may you miss out on entitlements and medical expenses, but you may also jeopardise your ability to make a claim in the future should your injury worsen.
You need to understand that under Victorian law, you have the legal right to make a WorkCover compensation claim, and that if an employer takes action against you, by dismissing or reducing your hours for example, that this is illegal.
What WorkCover injury rights do casual and labour hire workers have?
A list of the steps you should take if hurt at work:
- Seek medical attention and notify your doctor that you have been injured at work. Not your employer's doctor, yours.
- Report your injury to your employer by completing an entry in your employer's injury book, both at your host employer and your agency.
- Notify your union delegate if you have one, and your OH&S rep.
- If more serious, make sure you lodge a WorkCover claim form.
If your supervisor or boss tries to intimidate you into not recording the incident or lodging a claim, this is illegal and your employer can be prosecuted. No ifs or buts.
An injured worker should never fear putting in written notification for an injury at work.
The health and safety cards may be stacked against a casual and labour hire worker, but you can and should stand up for your rights. It's in your best interests, and those of your fellow workers, that you do so.
You are entitled to a safe workplace and to WorkCover benefits and protection, casual or not.
This article was first published on 19 June, 2013 and updated on 22 October 2020.