Self-insurer bill ends compo for off-site recess injuries

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Self-insurer bill ends compo for off-site recess injuries

The Federal Government has introduced legislation to make it easier for companies to become self-insurers under the Comcare scheme, and to end compensation for injuries occurring during recess breaks away from the workplace.

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The Federal Government has introduced legislation to make it easier for companies to become self-insurers under the Comcare scheme, and to end compensation for injuries occurring during recess breaks away from the workplace.
 
According to the explanatory statement for the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, the legislation implements recommendations of a 2012 review of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 in that it modifies that Act to:
  • Remove the requirement for the Minister [for Employment, Eric Abetz] to declare a corporation to be eligible to be granted a licence for self-insurance, while retaining the ability for the Minister to give directions to the [Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission];
  • Enable corporations currently required to meet workers compensation obligations under two or more workers compensation laws of a State or Territory to apply to the Commission to join the Comcare scheme (the ‘national employer’ test);
  • Allow a Commonwealth authority that ceases to be a Commonwealth authority to apply directly to the Commission for approval to be a self-insurer in the Comcare scheme and be granted a group licence if the former Commonwealth authority meets the national employer test;
  • Enable the Commission to grant group licences to related corporations;
  • Make consequential changes to extend the coverage provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to those corporations that obtain a licence to self-insure under the Act; and
  • Exclude access to workers’ compensation where: injuries occur during recess breaks away from an employer’s premises; or a person engages in serious and wilful misconduct, even if the injury results in death or serious and permanent impairment.
Red tape reduction
 
“These changes will assist in reducing unnecessary and ineffective red tape for business by broadening the range of corporations that can seek to enter the Comcare scheme and allowing multi-state employers to reduce their compliance costs for maintaining workers compensation coverage,” the statement reads.
 
“Allowing the Commission to grant a single licence for self-insurance through the Comcare scheme for a related group of companies, instead of each company applying for a series of single licences as is currently provided for in the Act, will achieve efficiencies for those corporations. 
 
"Costs will also be reduced by removing injuries that occur in circumstances outside the control of the employer from the coverage of the Comcare scheme.”
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