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Workers’ Compensation Entitlements in respect of COVID-19

Although many businesses have moved to work from home arrangements for employees in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, essential service workers continue to attend the workplace. This raises the question as to whether or not employees will be entitled to workers’ compensation, should they contract coronavirus whilst at work.

Workers’ compensation arrangements vary among state and territory jurisdictions, however broadly speaking, to be entitled to workers’ compensation, a worker must show that they:

  1. are a worker or a deemed worker; and
  2. have suffered an ‘injury’ (i.e. contracted COVID-19) which arose out of or in the course of their employment.

Safe Work Australia has acknowledged that it can be difficult to prove that a disease was contracted in, or caused by, particular employment. In the case of a virus such as COVID-19, establishing the time and place of contraction may become increasingly hard. Yet, like any workers’ compensation claim, the relevant authority will consider each claim on its merits with regard to individual circumstances and evidence.

In uncertain times like these, employers will inevitably be faced with such claims and require legal help.

Aitken Partners’ Workplace Law team is here to assist businesses navigate workers’ compensation claims. If you need legal assistance with a workers’ compensation claim – COVID-19 related or not – please feel welcome to contact Stephen Curtain – 03 8600 6042 or 0417 373 545