Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions regarding our services, offerings, and products.

An employer is any person or business entity that employs or hires workers on a full time, part time or casual basis, under an oral or written contract of service or training contract. Working directors of a corporation are considered employees of the corporation.

A workers compensation policy covers any of the employer's workers in the event of them suffering a work related injury or illness.

The policy will insure your business against the cost of the support your injured worker might receive.

These can include:

  • weekly benefits
  • medical and hospital expenses
  • rehabilitation services
  • certain personal items (eg clothing, spectacles, if damaged in a work related accident)
  • a lump sum payment for death or permanent impairment

News South Wales

All employers in NSW who pay annual wages over $7500 are required by law to have a workers compensation insurance policy. Employers who pay $7500 or less in annual wages (known as exempt employers) are not required to take out an insurance policy unless they employ an apprentice or trainee, or are part of a group (see Appendix B) for premium purposes.

Note: Volunteers are not regarded as workers. Employers of volunteers are not required to take out workers compensation insurance for their volunteers, but still have a duty to provide a safe working environment for them.

Insurance cover for employers

All employers in NSW (except exempt employers) are required to have a workers compensation insurance policy.

An employer is a business or individual that employs, engages or hires workers on a full time, part time or casual basis, under an oral or written contract of service, including an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Which employers are covered?

Employers covered in the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme include but are not limited to the following:

Individual or sole trader
Insurance cover for all employees but not the policy holder.

If the individual or sole trader does not have workers they do not need a policy. A personal accident and illness policy or an income protection insurance policy for the individual is recommended but this is not a workers compensation requirement.

Partnerships
Insurance cover for all employees of the partnership but not the partners themselves.

A personal accident and illness policy or an income protection insurance policy is recommended for partners of a partnership but this is not a workers compensation requirement.

Companies
Insurance cover for all employees of the company including the working directors.

Trusts
Insurance cover for all employees of the trust.

When the trustee of a trust employs workers, the trustee needs to have a policy. The trustee may be a sole trader, partnership or company.

Strata Plan
Insurance cover for all employees of the strata corporation.

The employer is a strata scheme. The workers compensation policy is held in the name of the owners’ corporation – e.g. The Owners Corporation of Strata Plan 12345.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Victoria

If you expect to pay more than $7,500 a financial year in rate-able remuneration, or if you have any apprentices or trainees, you must take out WorkSafe insurance. This applies even if you are a small company with only one worker.

Companies
If you are a proprietary limited company, your directors and employees who receive salaries or wages are workers and are covered for WorkCover Insurance purposes.

This includes where the company is a trustee. This means that if you are a director of your own company and receive any payments expensed as salaries, wages, or if you run a company that employs any directors who receive salaries, wages or directors fees, you must register for WorkCover Insurance if the company’s annual remuneration (i.e. wages, salaries, etc) exceeds $7,500.

Sole traders and partnerships
If you are a sole trader/proprietor or a member of a partnership, you are not a worker of your own business.

This means you will not be covered by your WorkCover Insurance. You should consider taking out some form of insurance to cover yourself in the event that you cannot work. If you are hired as a worker by someone else, that person may need to register for WorkCover Insurance to cover you.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

South Australia

Do I need to register?
If you operate a business in South Australia that employs workers, it's likely you will need to register with Return To Work SA.

You must register for work injury insurance cover within 14 days of employing someone that meets the definition of a worker, WHO can assist with this. You may apply for cover prior to employing workers.

Exemptions
If you will pay your workers less than $12,286 in total for the 2015-16 financial year, you do not need to register. If one of your workers is injured at work, you must contact Return To Work SA to report the injury (WHO can assist) and at this time you will need to register and pay the minimum premium (for 2015-16 it is $200 plus GST and WHS fee).

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Western Australia

You must have workers compensation insurance for anyone you employ who the legislation defines as a ‘worker’, including cover for claims at common law.

By keeping a current workers compensation insurance policy and having an injury management system in place, you will ensure compliance with the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

See the Getting an insurance policy section for more details on how to cover your workers and your business against workplace injury.

The definition of a ‘worker’ covers:

  • full-time workers on a wage or salary
  • part-time, casual and seasonal workers
  • workers on commission
  • piece workers
  • working directors (optional)
  • contractors and sub-contractors (in some circumstances)
  • family members

This definition is broad and can be broken up into two parts: primary and extended.

Primary covers any person who works under a contract of service or apprenticeship with you. The contract may be expressed or implied, oral or written. A large part of the workforce is covered under this part of the ‘worker’ definition, including:

  • full-time and part-time workers
  • casual workers
  • seasonal and piece workers
  • workers on salary or wages
  • workers supervised and controlled by an employer
  • workers who may be fired by an employer
  • workers who work for only one employer
  • workers with set hours of work.

Extended covers any person who works under a contract for service. Many people who work as contractors or sub-contractors may be covered under this part of the definition, and it may cover workers who:

  • are paid on piece rates, hourly rates or per job
  • work for the employer on a ‘one-off’ or per job basis
  • do not have set hours of work
  • work for more than one employer
  • work unsupervised
  • pay 20 per cent prescribed payments (sub-contractor’s tax)
  • are covered by an industrial award or agreement.

Exemptions
Generally, individual workers cannot cover themselves for workers’ compensation, even if they are self-employed and have an ABN. An exception is when an individual is a working director of a company.

Family members
If you employ or contract a family member, you must cover them for workers’ compensation – even if they live in the family home.

Working Directors
A working director (in relation to a company) means a director who executes work for, or on behalf of, the company, and whose earnings as a company director by whatever means, are for personal manual labour or services.

It is optional for a company to cover their directors for workers’ compensation.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Queensland

Accident insurance
If you have a business in Queensland and employ workers, you are required to insure them against workplace accidents with WorkCover Queensland (s48, Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003).

You cannot pay any of your own claim costs in Queensland.

There is no threshold that you must reach before insuring in Queensland. If anyone you employ meets the definition of a worker, then you must insure them within five days of commencing employment. You can take out your policy prior to employing workers provided you have all the necessary information. WHO assists employers with this regularly and can advise on what wages should be included.

Employers who are found to be uninsured may be subject to penalties for unpaid premium and any compensation costs.

WorkCover's accident insurance policy insures you against all statutory and damages claim costs in the event of a work-related injury to your workers. There are no limits or caps to the number of claims that can be made against your policy.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Tasmania

Workers compensation is compensation payable under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 to a worker who suffers an injury or disease arising from or during their employment. For a disease, the worker’s employment must have contributed to it to a substantial degree.

A worker may be entitled to compensation for:

  • A weekly payments while incapacitated for work
  • A medical and other expenses
  • A rehabilitation expenses
  • A permanent impairment.

In some circumstances, a worker may also be able to make a common law damages claim.

An employer must take out a workers compensation insurance policy with a licensed insurer to cover it for workers compensation claims made by its workers.

Definition of a Worker
To be entitled to compensation, a person must be a worker. A worker is someone who works under a contract of service or a training agreement. This includes casual employment. A contract does not necessarily have to be a formal, written document — it could be implied and/or a verbal agreement.

Although not specifically deemed to be workers under the Act, working directors have generally been determined by the courts to be workers. A working director is a director of the company whose earnings as a director are for personal labour or services.

People who are not covered

People who are not Workers
Some people are specifically excluded from the Act. They are not entitled to workers compensation if injured while working. These excluded people are:

  • people employed on a casual basis for a purpose other than the employer’s trade or business
  • outworkers
  • people employed as domestic servants with a private family, who have done less than 48 hours employment with their employer when they are injured (people in casual domestic employment, such as cleaners, would usually be covered by an extension of a household insurance policy)
  • crew members of a fishing boat who are paid wholly or mainly on the basis of a share of the profits or gross earnings of the boat
  • people taking part in approved programs of work for unemployment payment (work-for-the-dole schemes)
  • people employed on ships covered by the Commonwealth Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992.

Workers are also covered for Disease that their employment contributed to, as well as Industrial deafness.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Northern Territory

Under the Return to Work Act, employers must hold a workers compensation insurance policy with an approved insurer if they employ a natural person who, under a contract or agreement of any kind (whether expressed or implied, oral or in writing or under a law of the Territory or not), performs work or a service of any kind for the employer unless:

(i) the natural person:

  • is paid to achieve a specified result or outcome; and
  • has to supply plant, and equipment or tools of trade, needed to perform the work or service; and
  • is, or would be, liable for the cost of rectifying any defect arising out of the work or service performed; or

(ii) a personal services business determination relating to the natural person performing the work or service is in effect under section 87-60 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth).

Workplace personal injury insurance
Workplace personal injury insurance is an optional insurance and covers anyone deemed an eligible person under Section 23 of the Act. An eligible person, is an individual who, other than as a worker, receives remuneration or other benefit for performing work, or providing services as a contractor, a self-employed individual, a director of a company, a partner of a partnership, a trustee of a trust. These persons can insure themselves by taking out this type of policy regardless of age or health.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Australian Capital Territory

It is compulsory for all employers in the ACT to have a current ACT workers compensation policy in place with an Approved Insurer. Work Health Options (WHO) can negotiate premium rates on your behalf, working with your general insurance broker, where possible.

Employers with the resources to fund any workers compensation liability imposed on them may apply to be a self-insurer.

Under the Act an employer is liable for any compensation payable to a worker suffering any work-related injury or disease.

Where an employer has a current workers compensation policy, the insurer indemnifies the employer for costs of the claim.

Under the Workers Compensation Act 1951 (the Act), workers can include:

  • people who work under a “contract of service” (employees) and who work on a full-time, part-time or casual basis;
  • company directors who work under a “contract for service” with that company. (Many working directors of small private companies fall into this category);
  • people who work under a “contract for service”, who perform work for a principal contractor, and are required to perform part or all of the work, and who work on a regular and systematic basis. This may include some contractors (section 11 of the Act) and sub-contractors (section 13 of the Act);
  • volunteers (section 18 of the Act) who perform work that is for (or incidental to) an enterprise, trade or business carried on by someone else, and receive no payment for the work (apart from any payment for expenses);
  • Religious workers (section 17 of the Act) who request to be covered.

WHO’s aim is to completely understand your structure and the activity of your business enabling us to negotiate an appropriate rate to ensure you are not paying excessive premiums. As each State and Territory is different WHO will work with you to achieve the best outcomes. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.

Once your new policy has been set up, you will receive an invoice from Work Health Options/General Insurance Broker with your premiums and cover attached, this will be for;

  • Western Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • Australian Capital Territory and
  • Tasmania

In all other States the Scheme agent (or WorkCover in Queensland) will issue you with a new business package that includes:

  • information on how your premium was calculated
  • your policy conditions
  • a certificate of currency
  • a schedule with your policy details
  • claim lodgement and management information

Insurance cover is for a 12 month period. It can be shorter for the following reasons:

  • to align the policy period to an employer’s financial/calendar year
  • if the employer is joining a group
  • to align the policy period with a month end or to coincide with other insurance programmes.

Work Health Options can organise your worker compensation insurance programme and depending on the State or Territory we will be able to negotiate your premium accordingly. As a broker we represent you, the employer, and not the Insurance Companies, Scheme Agents or Workers Compensation Regulators.

Work Health Options (WHO) constantly places workers compensation insurance cover for employers in all jurisdictions. Our national team can provide all the advice you require to either place and, where applicable, negotiate premium on your behalf. As brokers, WHO acts on the employers behalf and hence represents their interests accordingly. With every State and Territory operating under their own legislation with varying policies, procedures and structures WHO works with employers in achieving a positive result in relation to pricing, coverage, where applicable, and an effective an efficient claims management and return to work structure as this can also impact on premiums.

Yes, please contact WHO for further information regarding group work experience protection insurance cover.

Payment can be made by EFT/bank transfer, cheque, money order, Visa, MasterCard or Bankcard.

Yes, this policy also provides cover for Personal Liability. Please refer to the combined Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) incorporating the policy wording for more information on what is and is not covered.

Yes, cover may be extended as per the periods of cover. Please advise us if further cover is required prior to the expiry of the existing cover and arrangements will be made with a further fee being applicable. Cover is however non-renewable.

Yes, the work experience person may work at various host employers, as long as we are made aware of all employers and the policy schedule is noted accordingly.

Please note: Duties and tasks must be the same at each employer and the industry must be the same.

All known host employers should be noted at the commencement of a policy, otherwise a further policy fee may be incurred.

Due to the nature of work experience duties, we realise that a day-to-day routine, or continuous days of work, may not be available. Therefore there are 5 different periods of cover:

  • 15 days to be worked over 6 months
  • 30 days to be worked over 6 month
  • 3 months unlimited
  • 6 months unlimited
  • 9 months unlimited

This allows the volunteer and host employer more flexibility.

Under the various states and their Workers Compensation Acts, there is no requirement to cover work experience persons or voluntary workers. They would not be deemed a worker, as they do not generate an income for their services.

Persons between the ages of 14-80 undertaking unpaid work experience positions with a host employer.

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