An Insurance company has a variety of obligations to an injured worker. The Workers Compensation Amendment (Return to Work Assistance) Regulation 2016 details the insurers obligations in helping an injured worker return to work.
An insurer is required to pay for the following return to work assistance;
1. Work assistance and,
2. Retraining and education.
When does an Insurer have to pay compensation for work assistance?
An insurer is liable to pay compensation for work assistance if the worker returns to work with a new employer or in a new capacity with your pre-injury employer, if:
- The employment offer is for a period greater than 3 months
- The offer of employment is in writing and has been provided to the insurer
Note: If you have obtained work for a period of less than three months, or the offer of employment is not in writing the Insurer may not pay compensation for work assistance.
What type of expenses can be claimed as work assistance?
All of the following may be claimed up to a cumulative total of $1000:
- Transport (public or motor vehicle)
- Education or training
- Equipment (tool belt or specific attire)
When does the Insurer have to pay for my education or training in order to return to the workforce?
In order to obtain compensation for education or training you must have:
- Been assessed as having 20% or more whole person impairment (WPI)
- Received weekly payments of compensation for a period of 78 weeks or more
- Prove that the education or training is directly related to the employment objectives of the injury management plan
E.g. If the objectives of the injury management plan are to have you return to work with another employer, say working as a florist, the insurer will likely pay for floristry school if the job obtained requires specialty training. Conversely, if you applied to the Insurer for payment of a scaffolding course it would likely be denied as it does not meet the objective of the injury management plan or the requirements of your new employer.
- Ensure the education or training facility is registered as a ‘training organisation’ within the meaning of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. Or is a ‘registered higher education provider’ within the meaning of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011.
Generally, TAFE, community college, and a number of private education facilities meet this requirement and therefore must be paid for by the insurer.
What type of expenses can be claimed for education or training?
If your new or existing job role requires you to have a skill or further education and training the insurer is liable to pay a cumulative total of up to $8000 for:
- Course fees
- Other related expenses (travel, text books, stationery)
How do I inform the Insurer of my request for education and training assistance?
You inform the Insurer by completing a training application form. It is important to prove that the training or education requested is consistent with the injury management plan and is necessary to return to work.
The insurer must respond to your claim form within 21 days. If liability is disputed you should contact your lawyer for advice.
GARLING & CO 2016