John’s Nuts Operations Pty Ltd has been convicted for failing to meet the requirements of the State Workplace Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
The employer made the mistake of:
Waiting to receive funds from its Workers Compensation Insurer before paying the injured worker his weekly benefits – for five weeks in a row.
Failing to consult with the employee and plan for their return to work.
As a result John’s Nuts Operations was convicted and fined for breaching sections 104: Plan Return to Work and 105:Consult about the return to work of a worker, and for contravening section 179 which relates to failing to pay weekly benefits to an injured worker within the statutory time limit.
The worker was awarded compensation in early 2017 after being certified unfit for any work duties due to tendinitis caused by repetitive work tasks. Even though the worker didn’t currently have the capacity to return to work, the employer was still required to plan for their return to work.
WorkSafe Victoria explained that employers must consult with the injured worker, their treating practitioner and occupational rehabilitation provider to assess and propose suitable employment options and provide the worker with clear, accurate and current details on their return to work arrangements. They need to closely monitor a workers progress and consider reasonable support, aids or modifications that could help them return to work.
WorkSafe’s Insurance Business Unit Executive Director Shane O’Dea said ‘WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who disregard their obligations to injured workers. Failing to provide injured workers with timely compensation payments or consult them could cause significant additional hardship and stress to workers and their families. Such failures can also be detrimental to a worker’s prospects of recovery and ultimate return to work’.
Failing to comply with WorkCover requirements can be easier than you think, particularly if you haven’t had to deal with the workers compensation system before.
In our experience many employers don’t know their responsibilities and understanding them can be difficult and time consuming. It often makes good business sense to consult with our team of Workers Compensation Specialists to ensure you meet the requirements and avoid the risk of prosecution.