Legal E: Are You Ready for 1 July 2015?

Are You Ready for 1 July 2015? The Clock is Ticking!

The End of Financial Year is always a very busy time for businesses, particularly as it relates to employment issues. Big changes to your employment arrangements come into force on 1 July and you need to make sure that you have everything ready to go.

The New Wage Rates

The Fair Work Ombudsman published Pay Rate Guides for all of the Modern Awards on its website yesterday. These show the relevant penalty rates applicable for each Award for both permanent and casual staff. The Pay Rates Guides can be found here.

If you need to calculate specific rates, you can do so using the Pay And Conditions Tool on their website. If you find it all a bit daunting, give us a call.

The End of WorkCover and the Beginning of Return To Work SA

The Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) (“RTW Act”) comes into operation from 1 July 2015 and WorkCover with become Return to Work SA. The new regime will bring in significant changes to the workers compensation system, which will impact on your business arrangements. These include:-

For a claim to be accepted, the employment now needs to be “a significant contributing cause” of a physical injury and “the significant contributing cause” of a psychiatric injury.

  • Workers will be classified as ‘seriously injured workers’ and ‘non seriously injured workers’. Seriously injured workers will be those who have a whole person impairment (“WPI”) of 30% or more.
  • Seriously injured workers will have their medical expenses covered for life and can rely on income support to retirement age. Non-seriously injured workers entitlements to medical expenses and income support are far more limited.
  • The employer’s duty must now provide suitable work if the worker give written notice that they are ‘ready, willing and able’ to return to work. The new South Australian Employment Tribunal can enforce this and penalise the employer for failing to do so. The employer does not need to provide suitable work if it is not reasonably practicable to do so, but it is up to the employer to prove this.
  • New or other employment options can be agreed pursuant to a Return to Work Plan if the worker is incapacitated for more than 4 weeks.
  • There will now be mobile case managers who will visit the work site to deal with claims and assist with a return to work.
  • The new premium system gives an incentive to employers to offer suitable employment to their injured workers as soon as possible. The less income support paid to workers incapacitated for more than 2 weeks, the less the premium will be.
  • In addition to a claim for workers compensation, a seriously injured worker may now sue their employer to recover damages for their economic loss where the injury was caused by the negligence of the employer or its employees.
  • There will be independent medical advisers appointed by a Court or Tribunal in a dispute, who can access the work site and seek information from the employer, who must co-operate with them.

You need to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities under the new scheme and ensure that your Work Health and Safety policies and procedures are up to date, particularly where with regards to record keeping. Make sure you have the new forms required by the scheme.

If you would like a free seminar about the new scheme conducted at your workplace, please give us a call.

 

For more information please contact:

Joanna Andrew, Partner
Ph: (08) 8414 3454
e: jandrew@mellorolsson.com.au    

Elizabeth Olsson, Senior Associate
Ph: (08) 8414 3413
e: 
eolsson@mellorolsson.com.au 

Maria Demosthenous, Solicitor
Ph: (08) 8414 3418
e: 
mdemosthenous@mellorolsson.com.au

 

The contents of this E-Alert is for general information only. It is not intended as professional advice - for that you should consult a solicitor or barrister, or any other suitably qualified professional such as your accountant.

Practice Area: Employment

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