The WA Legislative Council has passed a Bill to modernise workers compensation laws in Western Australia. The Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023 is a complete rewrite of the workers compensation legislation and is the result of an extensive review and consultation process.

The new Act includes recommendations from WorkCover WA’s 2014 legislative review report and replaces the 1981 Act with a modernised bill that provides clarity and certainty for stakeholders.

The target start date of the new Act is 1 July 2024 when supporting regulations and administration changes are finalised.

Key Improvements Introduced by the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023:

1.    Enhanced Financial Support:

Doubling the medical and health expenses limit and extending the duration before workers’ weekly compensation payments step down, from 13 to 26 weeks. These changes, pledged during the 2021 election, aim to ensure that injured workers receive adequate financial support for medical expenses and loss of income.

2.    Revised Calculation of Weekly Income:

The weekly rate of income will now be calculated based on either the worker’s earnings for one year ending the day before the injury occurred or for the period from the start of employment to the day before the injury (if less than one year). This adjustment provides a fairer assessment of income loss for injured workers.

3.    Comprehensive Coverage for Catastrophic Injuries:

Workers catastrophically injured in workplace accidents will now be covered under the Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme, ensuring they receive equivalent support to those injured in motor vehicle accidents. This provision guarantees lifetime care and support for those with severe injuries.

4.    Refined Exclusion of Stress-Related Claims:

Stress-related claims arising from reasonable administrative actions, including formal performance reviews, are now excluded. This clarification aims to streamline the claims process while maintaining fairness for both employers and employees.

5.    Extended Timeframe for Claim Processing:

Employers are now required to submit workers’ claims to their insurer within seven days of receiving the claim, extending the previous deadline from five days. This adjustment allows for more thorough processing of claims and guarantees timely responses to workers’ needs.

6.    Regulatory Framework and Implementation Timeline:

The Workers Compensation and Injury Management Regulations are currently under development, with public consultation expected to start soon. Similar to the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations, implementation of the WCIM Act and Regulations will not commence until regulations are passed into law. The implementation phase is anticipated to follow a timeline similar to WHS regulations, spanning approximately one year.

Penalties for Non-Compliance:

As part of the new Act due to commence on 1st July 2024, penalties for non-compliance will double from $5,000 to $10,000 per employee.

Need to Review Your Policies?

The implementation of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023 represents a milestone in the ongoing evolution of workers’ rights and workplace safety in Western Australia. As 1 July approaches, stakeholders across Western Australia stand ready to navigate these changes and ensure the effective implementation of the new regulatory framework.

If you have any questions regarding this update or how it may affect your business, our insurance brokers can help. Get in touch with us today!

Modernised workers compensation laws for WA, WA Government
Workers’ compensation laws are changing, Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA
Workers’ compensation changes: what do I need to know? Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA