Published: 09 December 2016
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Casual or labour hire workers - how to calculate WorkCover benefits

It is a common, but mistaken view, that casual and labour hire workers are not entitled to any significant income and medical benefits under WorkCover. This is not true.

In fact, Victorian law guarantees that all employees who are injured at work are covered by WorkCover (or WorkSafe, if you use their marketing name), regardless of the number of hours worked.

If you are employed by a labor hire agency and have worked at several different sites or with several different "host" employers, it is your direct employer, the labour hire firm, that is responsible for your workplace injury benefits.

The size of your replacement income benefit however depends on the number of hours you have been employed for. The larger the number of hours worked, the larger the income replacement benefit will be.

All medical benefits, such as reimbursement for medical tests and treatment required post-injury, are fully refundable.

However, if you are a casual or labour hire worker and have been hurt at work it is important to add up the number of hours you have recently been employed for in order to calculate the level of income entitlement payable to you.

Calculating your benefit

If you have been employed for more than 12 months before getting injured, calculate the average the number of hours you worked each week over the past 52 weeks.

If you have been working for less than 12 months, calculate the average number of hours since you started work, including any work done with other "host" employers.

Your entitlements or benefits will include weekly payments of compensation while incapacitated. If you are permanently injured, you can make a permanent impairment claim with WorkCover.

If your injury was caused by negligence, you may be able to claim for a damages payout based on any pain and suffering you have incurred, and for any projected loss of future income. Note that lump sum compensation amounts are typically quite large.

In summary

Casual workers and labour hire employees have employment rights to income support and medical benefits should they be thrown out of work due to injury.

Know your rights and use them to protect yourself and your family. If you are in a unionised workplace, consult your organiser or alternatively, seek legal advice. Remember, an initial legal consultation with a respected WorkCover legal firm typically costs nothing.

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