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Angela Sdrinis Legal recently successfully ran a case against National Australia Bank with the worker winning liability before the Tribunal: Mercado and National Australia Bank Limited (Compensation)  AATA 2136 (1 July 2022). Acceptance of liability under Section 14 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth).
Attending so called "independent" medical examinations (IME's) at the request of your employer/Comcare can be a stressful business but under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) you are required to comply with "reasonable" requests or face a suspension of your incapacity (loss of earnings) benefits.
Angela Sdrinis acts for injured workers across all sectors of the scheme. We can provide expert advice with a first consultation free and in most cases on the basis of no win/no fee arrangements.
11 August 2021: Proposed Amended Comcare Guide to the Assessment of Permanent Injuries will make it harder for injured workers to recover lump sum Compensation.
The Comcare scheme which was introduced in 1988 for Commonwealth employees and later workers of large national companies who were granted Comcare licences, has over the years become increasingly complex. In our experience, the increasing complexity has not been aimed at making the system better but at making it harder for injured workers to recover compensation.
When can an employee pursue common law damages, per section 45 of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act?
Even though AS Legal’s Melbourne office is now physically closed due to Stage 4 COVID restrictions, business is continuing as usual. Our reception is still operating as is our email@example.com email address for general inquiries.
Comcare (or a relevant licensee) may from time to time, direct an employee to participate in an internal rehabilitation program or to a rehabilitation program operated by an external providers. The purpose of an occupational rehabilitation program is to support employees to maintain work, return to work or to acquire new employment. There may be a degree of apprehension when receiving a notice to participate in a rehabilitation program, especially where an employee is receiving worker’s compensation benefits under the Comcare scheme. This fact sheet will endeavour to answer workers’ frequently asked questions:
Angela Sdrinis Legal has been pursuing a claim for compensation for former Australian Police Officer (AFP) Lizzie Wiggins since 2014. The claim was denied by Comcare and fought in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for 3 years.
Many workers who suffer injury in the course of their employment are able to do alternative duties. However many employers can be reluctant to offer injured workers alternative duties even though the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA). Under the SRCA, an employer has speciﬁc statutory powers and functions under Part III of the SRC Act. These include arranging for a rehabilitation assessment, determining that a rehabilitation program should be undertaken, arranging with an approved rehabilitation program provider for the provision of a suitable program and ensuring suitable employment is provided.
On 19 March 2014, the Federal government introduced the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (Cth) into the House of Representatives.
The Comcare Scheme has been subjected to a number of reviews since Julia Gillard was Minister for Workplace Relations in 2007. A first review commissioned by Julia Gillard was released in 2009. (http://docs.employment.gov.au/node/28616)
Pursuant to s 116 of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, a worker is entitled to accrue sick leave and annual leave but only during the first 45 weeks of absence following acceptance of liability for a work related injury. Thereafter, if an injured worker is unable to work, only long service leave accrues under the SRCA. Similarly an employer is only required to make superannuation contributions when an employee is physically working.
Sections 20 and 21 of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (1988) (SRCA) deal with the effect of superannuation on incapacity benefits. Generally speaking, workers who are in receipt of incapacity or loss of earnings benefits under the SRCA should resist termination or defer resignation because once employment is terminated a worker’s superannuation is “paid out” and even if these payments are rolled over, a worker is deemed to have “received” the lump sum benefit and therefore weekly payments are reduced on the basis of the formula in the Act. (see Archer v Comcare (2000) 101 FCR 30).
Many workers who are covered by the Comcare scheme will develop injuries over a period of time and it is not always possible to pinpoint the date of injury. For example, workers who gradually develop back pain or overuse injuries may find it hard to precisely identify when the injury occurred. Similarly in claims involving work related psychological injuries, it may be difficult to show when normal distress or upset because of a work incident, actually becomes a psychological injury.
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