Published: 24 April 2020
Author: Simone Welsh
Emergency COVID-19 law now extends WorkCover payments
An emergency Bill was last night passed by the Victorian Parliament which will extend the period of notice the Victorian WorkCover Authority is required to give workers when it cuts their weekly compensation payments.
The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 makes some temporary changes to Victoria’s Workers Compensation laws (the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 and the Accident Compensation Act 1985).
The Bill, which so far as it relates to workers’ compensation entitlements, will have retrospective effect to 1 December 2019.
“Ordinarily, WorkCover or self-insurer must give 13 weeks’ notice where it intends to terminate weekly payment. The amending legislation temporarily increases this notice period to 39 weeks”
It affects any decision made by the WorkCover Authority or self-insurer to terminate a worker’s entitlement to receive their weekly payments after the expiration of the ‘second entitlement period’, which is typically after an aggregate period of 130 weeks.
Ordinarily, WorkCover or self-insurer must give 13 weeks’ notice where it intends to terminate weekly payment. The amending legislation temporarily increases this notice period to 39 weeks – an additional six months.
Importantly, a sunset clause means that the extension from 13 to 39 weeks will only be in effect for six months from the date of commencement of the Omnibus Bill.
RCT Law (in association with Stringer Clark Lawyers) will be carefully monitoring the legislative landscape and client entitlements to make sure that eligible workers receive their extra 6 months of payments.
If you or someone you know think the changes affect you, or if you wish to discuss your entitlements with one of our specialist lawyers, please contact us without delay.