We are lucky in Australia that we have laws that protect the rights of a worker from being discriminated against. In particular, there are laws that protect our rights in relation to Disabilities in the Fair Work Act (2009). The question then becomes what constitutes a Disability?
Just a reminder that WorkSafe Victoria ( Victorian WorkCover Authority) has stated that as of 1 March 2015, the new certificate of capacity will be mandatory if injured workers are to receive their weekly payments when off work.
In the UK, the common ‘Sick notes’ (sick certificates) have apparently been superseded by “fit notes”, and the, ahum, health expert – Dame Carol Black – behind this – ah- revolution was recently in Australia to promote the health benefits for our injured/ill workers.
The UK director of Work and Health, Dame Carol Black, who, most interestingly has been flown across by Comcare to discuss the health benefits of the Work(cover) scheme, stated she believes the tradition of doctors issuing patients (including severely injured sods) with sick notes, to give them time off work, can foster a person’s sickness mentality. Goodness me!
Thanks to our mighty contributor ‘At A Loss’ we were alerted to the following recent NSW Workers Compensation Commission case which basically shows that a work capacity decision in NSW does not necessarily mean the end! Under the legislation (11.) the Commission has jurisdiction to make a continuing award pursuant to the provisions of the former s 40 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (the 1987 Act).
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association featured a comprehensive write-up regarding the famous work capacity assessments and decisions, which may help NSW injured nurses (and NSW injured workers) better understand how these work capacity assessments and decisions work. The article also provides a very handy telephone number to the Nurses and midwives’ Association for injured nurses who need assistance and/or advice re their “assessments”.
Changes made to the NSW Workers Compensation System state that a Lawyer cannot be paid for assisting an injured worker when challenging the validity of a Work Capacity Decision. However, according to the CFMEU’s article titled “Victories show importance of fighting payment cuts” (Unity Issue 61 September 2013),those NSW injured workers who are lucky enough to be a member of a Union (in this case the CFMEU in NSW) can still seek Union assistance to challenge any Work Capacity Decision made by a workcover insurer.
It also appears that the CFMU may have better results than the WIRO alone when it comes to fighting wrongful payment/benefit cuts by the insurers!
Here is a recent WorkCover Independent Review Officer procedural review decision of an insurer’s work capacity decision or assessment on an injured worker.
As we have pointed out on numerous occasions, many genuinely injured workers are “routinely” accused of “fraud” or “exaggeration” and have their weekly payments (medical treatment or claim) ceased of false accusations, leaving these injured workers in utter poverty, bewildered and having to resort to Courts to clear their name(s) and have their weekly payments and other workcover entitlements reinstated.
We were very kindly alerted by an anonymous NSW injured worker that the WIRO is now monitoring the famous work capacity decisions. We urge all NSW injured workers to contact the WIRO with regards to “letters” about work capacity assessments, work capacity reviews and work capacity decisions.
We came across this release from WIRO’s (WorkCover Independent Review Office) head, Kim Garling. It suggests that major cracks may be appearing in the new WorkCover changes. We are not at all surprised given that insurance company case managers are now able to make work capacity decisions that adversely impact on the lives of injured workers and their families.