Workers compensation bulletin - issue 22

In this edition: adjustments to workers compensation benefits, revised insurer guidelines and workers compensation obligations.

Indexed adjustments to workers compensation benefits from 1 April

The Workers Compensation Amendment (Latest Index Number) Regulation 2017 and the Workers Compensation (Indexation of Amounts) Amendment Order 2017 have been notified and published on the NSW Legislation website.

The notices detail the indexed adjustments to workers compensation benefits on and from 1 April 2017. They were published in the NSW Government Gazette No 31 on 10 March 2017 (refer to pages 637-639).

The Workers compensation benefits guide (April 2017) is available now.

Note: The Workers Compensation benefits guide (April 2017) is now superseded by the Workers Compensation Benefits Guide - July 2019.

SIRA publishes revised insurer guidelines

Following stakeholder feedback from the workers compensation financial and premium supervision consultation late last year, SIRA has issued two revised insurer guidelines this week.

The licensed insurer business plan guidelines (LIBPGs) and market practice premium and premiums guidelines (MPPGs) commence from 1 March 2017 and were issued under section 168(1) and 202B of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

SIRA is committed to working with insurers to achieve workers compensation system objectives and improve the experience for customers. The LIBPGs aim to achieve this by aligning insurer business activities with system objectives. The MPPGs will help ensure insurance policies and premiums are fair, affordable and commensurate with each employer’s risks in line with the system objectives.

Read the latest insurer guidance material on our website now.

Reminder to all employers and brokers - know your workers compensation obligations

An employer in NSW found not to have maintained a policy of workers compensation insurance can be penalised by way of double avoided premium penalty and may be liable to prosecution with the maximum fine of $55,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.

In September last year, SIRA received a self-notification from an employer in the hospitality industry who was unaware of the requirement to hold a workers compensation policy.

The employer thought workers compensation requirements were covered in their public liability policy. They also believed all their insurance policies were in order as a broker had assisted in the establishment of the business five years earlier.

In this instance, we determined that the appropriate compliance action was to issue a single avoided premium penalty for a three-year period. This result recovered to the scheme the premium that was owed by the business for this period.

Additionally, SIRA engaged with the broker that was involved and informed them of their requirements under the Workers Compensation Act 1987

Each year SIRA conducts countless investigations of NSW employers who do not hold a workers compensation policy as required. Many of these investigations arise as a result of an employee being injured at work.

SIRA has a number of proactive projects targeting high risk industries to better educate employers of their obligations to have a policy in NSW.