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Ross Inglis

Published: 11 February 2021
Author: Ross Inglis

Casuals do have WorkCover rights to injury compensation

If you’re a casual worker, you are covered by WorkCover for any accident or injury which occurs in the workplace. The fact that you are casual is irrelevant.

In this blog, I explain what you need to do as a casual if injured.

Every employer in Victoria is required to insure their workers against injury under State Government laws. This is regardless of whether the employee is permanent or casual. Nor are casuals required to work a minimum number of hours in order to be eligible for WorkCover-backed medical expenses and income entitlements. Once you start work, you’re covered. 

I know that many casual workers are reluctant to lodge a WorkCover claim because they are afraid of getting sacked, or not being re-hired, or simply being “disappeared” from work rosters.

One of the least discussed aspects of casual and labour hire practices is the knock on effect they have on injury in the workplace. For all the official government hype about health and safety, it is the growing insecurity of Australian workplaces that most threatens safe work practices.

While some casual workers are nervous about reporting their injury or lodging an injury claim, you really owe it to yourself and your family to do so.

Why should you report an injury?

Because leaving an injury unreported for too long can rob you of the chance of medical expenses and income support both now and in the longer term, should your injury flare up or deteriorate.

Injuries should be reported within 28 days.

Claims should be lodged as soon as possible with your employer, and within 60 days. Note that your employer is required by law to lodge the claim on your behalf.

If the employer won’t accept the claim it can be lodged directly to the Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe).

Failing to lodge a claim may jeopardise your rehab, your livelihood and your family’s financial welfare. 

You do have rights and you are protected, at least in law, in exercising them.

I'm casual or labour hire. What are my rights?

First, you are entitled to a safe workplace and to WorkCover benefits and protection, whether or not you are a casual.

If you are injured, you must follow these steps:

  1. Seek medical attention and notify your doctor that you have been injured at work. Not your employer's doctor, yours
  2. Report your injury to your employer by completing an entry in your employers injury book both at your host employer and your agency
  3. Notify your union delegate, if you have one, and your OH&S rep
  4. If the injury is 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. If this happens, call WorkCover immediately.

An injured worker should never fear putting in a written notification for an injury at work.

The health and safety cards may be stacked against casuals and labour hire workers, but you can and should stand up for your rights.

You are entitled to a safe workplace and to WorkCover benefits and protection, casual or not.

It's in your best interests, and those of your fellow workers, that you do so.

Additional information

Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe)

Business Victoria guidelines on casual employment conditions

This article was first published on 3 July, 2013 and updated on 11 February, 2021

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