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Workers compensation bulletin - issue 15

Commencement of consultation: Financial and Premium Supervision

SIRA is pleased to invite its stakeholders and the public to provide feedback or make a formal submission towards the Workers Compensation Financial and Premium Supervision Discussion Paper published Wednesday, 5th October 2016.

The paper is developed in line with amendments to the NSW Workers Compensation Act 1987introduced by the State and Care Governance Act 2015, which also allowed for the development of an initial set of Market Practice and Premium Guidelines and Licensed Insurer Business Plan Guidelines published in March this year.

SIRA adopted a staged approach to implementation to minimise disruption and maintain stability in the market while establishing a comprehensive insurer supervision model.  The Discussion Paper extends consultation conducted on the above guidelines to include:

  • Premiums (Policies of Insurance), with a  focus on adherence to Government policy and clarifying the role of SIRA and insurers in a file-and-write premium system;
  • Financial and Prudential Requirements, with a focus on consistent application across the scheme while following a risk-based model;
  • Market Practices and Competition, with a focus on maintaining ethical operation standards, encouraging competitiveness and providing adequate protection to consumers.

The six-week consultation period will close 18 November 2016.  Feedback on this paper will be considered in the drafting of a new set of guidelines SIRA expects to publish by March 2017.  All consultation documents are available to the public via SIRA’s website and the NSW Government’s Have Your Say website.

Feedback and submissions welcome by email to consultation@sira.nsw.gov.auon or before 18 November.  Please consult our website for further details on making a submission.

Self-insurance Licensing Framework consultation continues

Consultation on the proposed Self-insurance Licensing Framework remains open until 11 November 2016. Consultation documents are available to the public via SIRA’s website and the NSW Government’s Have Your Say website.

SIRA encourages interested parties to also consider the Workers Compensation Financial and Premium Supervision Discussion Paper (now open for consultation) as self-insurer security options are included in this paper.

Questions, feedback, and submissions are welcome by email to SIfeedback@sira.nsw.gov.au.  Please consult our website for further details on making a submission.

Commencement of Consultation: Workers Compensation Draft Guidelines for Workplace Return to Work Programs

SIRA also advises that consultation on the Draft Guidelines for Workplace Return to Work Programs (the Guidelines) is now open.

The Guidelines, made under section 52 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998, are sub-delegated legislation which informs, guides, and supports employers, workers and other stakeholders in the development of a return to work program for their workplace.

A working party comprised of subject matter experts from across the workers compensation system conducted a review early last year of the 2010 Guidelines and drafted a 2016 version, now offered for public consultation.

The accompanying Summary of Changes provides a rationale for all significant changes included in the 2016 draft, as well as a summary of all other changes made to the Guidelines.  Training requirements for Return to Work Coordinators which are stipulated in the Guidelines are also included in this consultation.

Consultation documents are available to the public via SIRA’s website and the NSW Government’s Have Your Say website.   Consultation closes 15 November 2016, with a Consultation Summary Paper to be published in December 2016.  Feedback on this paper will be considered in the drafting of a new set of guidelines we expect to publish by February 2017.

Questions, feedback, and submissions are welcome by email to consultation@sira.nsw.gov.au.  Please consult our website for further details on making a submission.

Reminder: New employment assistance benefit (s64B Workers Compensation Act 1987) and training or education assistance benefit (s64C)

On 24 April 2016 two new return to work assistance benefits for workers were introduced by regulation. New employment assistance provides for up to $1000 financial assistance to workers who obtain work with a new employer and Education or training assistance provides up to $8000 assistance for workers who have received weekly payments more than 78 weeks and who have been assessed as having more than 20% permanent impairment and are engaging in training or education.

Insurers are reminded that where a worker is eligible to receive these benefits they are to be used prior to application for similar assistance under the SIRA vocational programs, as outlined in the workshop presentation attached.

SIRA will continue to monitor utilisation of both these new benefits and vocational programs. Please direct any queries about usage of the benefits to 13 10 50.