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Workers compensation regulation bulletin - Issue 83 (December 2019)

Workers compensation Fees Orders updated

New maximum fees for certain medical services in the workers compensation scheme will be charged from New Year's Day.

The medical and allied health 2020 workers compensation fees orders were gazetted on Friday 20 December 2019 and apply to services provided on or after 1 January 2020.

The 2020 Fees Orders include:

  • Workers Compensation (Surgeon Fees) Order 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Orthopaedic Surgeon Fees) der 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Medical Practitioner Fees) Order 2020
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation (Medical Examinations and Reports Fees) Order 2020
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation (Injury Management Consultants Fees) Order 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Psychology & Counselling Fees) Order 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Massage Therapy Fees) Order 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Accredited Exercise Physiology Fees) Order 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Osteopathy Fees) Order 2020
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation (Independent Consultants Fees) Order 2020
  • Workers Compensation (Hearing Aid Fees) Order 2020

Health practitioners are not to charge in excess of the maximum scheduled fees under the workers compensation scheme. Insurers and employers are not liable to pay more than scheduled amounts.

If you have any queries relating to fees orders, email contact@sira.nsw.gov.au

Latest data available

The workers compensation open data for October 2019 is now available on our website.

The data includes information about reported claims, return to work rates, claim payments, insurance affordability and customer experience.

We provide the open data platform to improve stakeholder access to information, and enable innovation and services to improve outcomes for workers and employers.

You will also find the latest workers compensation dashboards on our website that report on performance measures including effectiveness, efficiency, viability, affordability, customer experience and equity.

The reports are accompanied by data tables and explanatory information.

For general enquiries, please call 13 10 50.

Minimum pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) amount

When determining a worker’s PIAWE for the purpose of calculating weekly payments, a minimum PIAWE amount of $155 applies. This provides an important financial safety net for injured workers with very low pre-injury earnings.

Where an injured worker’s PIAWE is calculated to be lower than $155, then the worker’s PIAWE is set at the minimum amount of $155 in order to calculate their weekly payment.

The Workers Compensation Amendment (Minimum Pre-injury Average Weekly Earnings) Regulation 2019 was published on 13 December. This Regulation prescribes the minimum PIAWE amount of $155 in relation to injuries received on or after 21 October 2019 (the commencement date of the recent PIAWE reforms), in line with the minimum PIAWE for workers with a date of injury prior to 21 October 2019. Consistent with the intent of the PIAWE reforms, the amending Regulation ensures that all workers, regardless of their date of injury, are supported by a minimum PIAWE.

Further information on PIAWE and weekly payments can be found in the Claims management guide on the SIRA website.

Increased funeral expenses for dust disease claims

Recent changes provide that the maximum amount payable for funeral expenses under the Dust Diseases Scheme has increased from $9,000 to $15,000. This applies to deaths occurring on or after 5 August 2015.

The changes are consistent with the NSW Government’s support for recommendation 7 of the Law and Justice Committee’s 2018 Final Report on the 2018 review of the Dust Diseases Scheme, which recommended an increase in funeral expenses in the Dust Diseases Scheme to bring it in line with the maximum funeral expenses in the general workers compensation scheme and Coal Mines Insurance.

Further information regarding the changes can be found on the NSW legislation website or SIRA's Claims Management Guide.

IPART to review the Home Building Compensation scheme

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is undertaking a review of the consumer protections available for home owners through the Home Building Compensation (HBC) scheme.

The review will examine:

  • whether the current regulatory requirements to take out home building compensation cover provide an adequate level of protection to customers, having regard to other consumer protections for home building; and
  • the funding arrangements for any changes to consumer protection relating to the Building Compensation scheme having regard to the future financial sustainability of the home building compensation insurance market.

Have your say

IPART will conduct a public consultation process. Interested parties have the opportunity to provide submissions on the draft Terms of Reference by close of business 24 January 2020.

IPART will consider any public comments and settle the final Terms of Reference in consultation with the Minister for Customer Service.

Further information

The HBC scheme compensates homeowners if their builder is unable to complete building work or fix defects because of insolvency, death, disappearance or licence suspension for non-compliance with a money order made by a court or the tribunal in favour of the homeowner. The scheme applies to residential building work projects over $20,000 (including GST) unless exempt, such as the construction of new houses, terraces, villas, multi-units up to three storeys in height, as well as home renovations and swimming pool building.

Further information about the HBC scheme is available on the SIRA website.

Further information about the IPART review and draft Terms of Reference is available on the IPART website.

Happy holidays

Our offices will be closed from Monday 23 December and will reopen on Monday 6 January.

We wish all subscribers a safe and joyful festive season.