WorkCover is compulsory insurance cover employers must provide to workers who become injured or sick in the course of employment.
In Australia, the WorkCover obligations on employers differ from State to State but generally the following apply: •Policy Payment;
•Annual Obligations; and
If an employer fails to observe these WorkCover obligations, then penalties may be imposed. This Article looks at employer WorkCover obligations and the penalties of failing to comply with WorkCover rules and regulations. * Source: CPA Australia “Payroll Intensive” course
Employers must pay the WorkCover premium by the due date and as specified by the insurer. As with other types of insurance, payment may be made monthly, quarterly or annually. In Queensland, the due date for payment is 30th September (with a discount offered for early payment on or before mid-September).
An employer’s yearly obligations under WorkCover include the preparation of a Year End reconciliation statement by the due date. Further, employers must prepare a ‘Wages Declaration’ form which declares all remuneration paid to employees. Failing to complete this declaration by the due date (31st August for Queensland) results in an automatic increase of the policy premium by WorkCover and penalties.
In addition to the above-mentioned obligations, employers under WorkCover must: •Provide a healthy and safe workplace for workers;
•Investigate the previous injury history of workers before the commencement of employment
•Ensure other parties (eg. clients, visitors, general public) are not endangered by business operations or conduct;
•Update, record and maintain claim information including displaying material relevant to injuries, maintaining an injury register, keeping in contact with injured workers, and completing an Employer’s Claim Report;
•Oversee the return to work process for an injured worker including appointment of a return to work co-ordinator and preparation of a work plan;
•Forward all claims for compensation to the prescribed claims agent; and
•Give notice to WorkCover of any workplace or activity changes.
Heavy penalties may be imposed on employers for failure to comply with WorkCover obligations including: •an interest charge for late payment of policy;
•100% of the premium difference may be applied if significant increases to remuneration are not reported (Victoria only);
•full cost of any claims plus heavy penalties if the business is not registered with WorkCover;
•if the business continues to be uninsured, then the business may commit a separate and further offence for every week after the date of a conviction; and
•liability under the Act for statutory benefits if an employee has a work-related disability (injury or industrial disease) and the business is uninsured for workers compensation.
For more information, refer to your State’s WorkCover authority. WorkCover Queensland information is available at LINK http://www.workcoverqld.com.au/.