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Changes to NSW Legislation

Changes to the NSW Workers Compensation legislation explained.

Watch this video for a general overview of the NSW legislative changes.

You may be aware there have been some significant changes to the NSW Workers Compensation legislation introduced recently and other changes that will take effect over the coming months.

This overhaul offers significant benefits for workers and employers, more assistance to get workers back on the job and better financial support for seriously injured workers.

CGU Workers Compensation NSW is here to help you better understand how the changes will impact your business and to work closely with you as they are introduced so you reap the benefit.

Our goal is to deliver the information you need to help you navigate through the changes.  

A brief summary of the changes

From 19 June 2012

Includes new arrangements for journey claims, lump sum payments and the nervous shock, heart attack and disease injuries.

Journey claims

  • Can only be made if there is a real and substantial connection between the employment and the incident out of which the injury arose.
  • Recess claims remain unchanged.
  • Journey claims with a date of injury after 31 December 2012 (4.00pm) will be premium impacting including being subject to a claims excess.

Heart attack and stroke claims

  • Require the nature of employment to offer a significantly greater risk of the worker suffering the injury than had the worker not been employed in employment of that nature.

Disease claims

  • Now referred to as “a disease that is contracted in the course of employment only if the employment was the main contributing factor”.
  • Disease injury also encompasses aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration in the course of employment of any disease, provided the employment was the main contributing factor.
  • Dust diseases continue to be exempt.

Nervous Shock Claims

  • Prevents a claim for damages for nervous shock when the nervous shock is not a work injury.
  • The new changes preclude claims for damages by relatives of an injured or deceased worker because their injuries are not work injuries.

Lump Sum

  • Degree of permanent impairment must be over 10 per cent to have an entitlement (including industrial deafness claims) and 15 per cent for psychological claims.
  • Pain and suffering payments have been abolished. 
  • Payments have been  simplified to one lump sum payment with no top up.

From 17 September 2012

Seriously injured claims

  • Seriously injured workers (with a previous agreed assessment – or likely to have – greater than 30 per cent whole person impairment) who were receiving less than the transitional rate of $736.72 per week will begin receiving an increased benefit. 
  • There will be no time cap on weekly payments, except for the Commonwealth retirement age.
  • There will be no time limit on payments for reasonable medical-related expenses 

From 1 October 2012

New claims received by CGU on or after this date will receive benefits based on their pre-injury average weekly earnings..

  • Weekly benefit payments will be calculated using the injured worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings as this is more closely aligned with the worker’s real earning prior to injury.
  • New timeframes and calculations for ongoing weekly benefit reviews. The maximum weekly benefit will be capped at $1,838 per week for new claimants and indexed twice a year.
  • Work capacity assessments introduced for new claims except for seriously injured workers who are not required to have work capacity assessments unless they request to do so to explore their return to work options.

From 1 January 2013

Existing claims prior to the 1 October 2012 changes will be transitioned to the new legislative requirements, including work capacity assessments and a new estimating manual to support the changes. Claims will be processed under the existing legislation prior to that time.

The amendments that relate to this specific date will be communicated when they come available from WorkCover NSW.

A downloadable copy of this infomation is available here

From 3 September 2014

On 3 September 2014 the NSW Government introduced a number of reforms to workers compensation benefits for workers who made a claim for compensation before 1 October 2012.