We recognise that COVID-19 is having a significant impact on businesses and employment arrangements and we are working closely with all relevant NSW Government agencies and employer associations to support employers respond to the current situation and to prepare for business post COVID-19.
This information is intended to provide employers and people leaders with a quick reference for some actions you should be taking to minimise the impact to your business and to your injured people.
Protecting your business
We want your business to thrive, not just survive post COVID-19. Here are some workers compensation related actions you can take to minimise the impact to your business:
It is important that you communicate with your insurer and keep them informed
- If your business has changed the type of business you do, you must notify your insurer as this may have an impact on your workers compensation policy or premium.
- If your staffing arrangements have changed eg numbers of staff or the hours they work have reduced, speak to your insurer about adjusting your estimated wages and if you are eligible for a reduction in your premium or potentially a refund.
- If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you can speak to your insurer about arranging alternative and extended payment arrangements.
- If your worker/s (including injured people) are receiving the JobKeeper payment, you must inform your insurer the date they start receiving Jobkeeper payments and when it ends.
- If you become aware of a work-related injury (including work-related cases of confirmed COVID 19 illness), you must notify your insurer within 48 hours. Notifications can be written (including by email) or verbal (including by phone).
Know your work, health and safety obligations
- Employers must comply with national and state public health directions in relation to COVID-19 and assess the risk in consultation with workers and implement control measures to minimise the spread.
- Prioritise health and safety of all workers even when they are working from home.Your workers are stillcovered under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
- In addition to advising your insurer you must also notify Safework NSW of a case of COVID-19 arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking in addition to notifying NSW Health. For more information, visit Safework NSW.
You can receive financial incentives for helping workers to continue their recovery at work
- JobCover6 -The JobCover6 program encourages employers to provide short-term work opportunities to help injured road users and workers who are looking to gain new employment during the COVID-19 crisis.
- JobCover6 provides an incentive payment of up to $400 per week (or the wages paid to the worker, whichever is less) to an employer who can provide a worker with a short-term work opportunity. The incentive payments can be paid up to a maximum of 26 weeks ($10 400).
- Connect2Work - The Connect2work program encourages employers to provide work placements to assist workers who are unable to recover at their pre-injury workplace or are looking to gain new work skills during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Connect2Work provides a $200 weekly payment (for up to 12 weeks) to employers who can provide work placement for at least 15 hours per week to a worker.
Supporting your workers
If a worker is injured at work, recovery doesn’t have to stop, it may just be different for a while for both you and your worker. Here are some tips on how to provide support during this time.
Stay connected and show support
- Keep in touch regularly via phone, video conferencing and online messaging platforms. If they are working remotely, consider routinely checking in and scheduling activities such as sharing a virtual lunch or team activities like mindfulness sessions
- Be positive, accepting, and encouraging. Take the time to listen and ask what would help them feel more supported
- Recognise behaviour changes or signs your injured person maybe feeling overwhelmed, isolated, scared, confused or angry.
- Know your limitations and when to seek outside support. If the injured person needs professional support, encourage them to talk to their treating doctor or insurer about what services may be available to them.
Prioritise safety, including those working from home
- Your worker may not have access to the same type of office furniture and equipment they had in the office. Have them complete a SafeWork NSW working from home checklist and discuss their equipment needs
- If equipment is required, financial assistance may be available through SIRA’s equipment program
- Encourage them to maintain their normal activities of daily living (within social distancing restrictions) and to establish in consultation with their treating medical and health practitioner(s) a home-based activity/exercise program
- Suggest if they are working from home to use their old commute time for physical activity.
Consult with the injured person on how to design their work amidst changes
- Work together to structure and organise tasks whilst ensuring they work within their certified capacity
- Be flexible and think of creative approaches to help them maintain their recovery while working from home
- Monitor them regularly.
Offer alternatives when you are unable to offer suitable work
- If you are unable to offer suitable work or continue their recovery at work plan during this time talk with the injured person and your insurer about some alternatives.
- SIRA has a range of programs that injured people can access to continue suitable work. Speak with your insurer or contact us.
It is important that you look after yourself
- As the business owner, manager, supervisor or people leader you are also at risk of becoming overwhelmed or anxious.
- Everything from getting enough sleep, establishing a positive routine, eating healthy, being physically active and relaxing away from technology can all play an important role in maintaining your mental health and wellbeing. Some days will be easier than others to prioritise your health and wellbeing, but every little bit helps.
We continue to update this webpage on information about SIRA's response to COVID-19.
There is also a COVID-19 hub injured road users and workers
Subscribe to the SIRA Bulletin
Follow SIRA’s LinkedIn or join the NSW Personal Injury COVID-19 LinkedIn group to never miss an update.
Frequently asked questions
What do I do if my worker wants to make a workers compensation claim for COVID0-19?
As an employer, you are required to inform your workers compensation insurer of any workplace injury you become aware of within 48 hours.
For the workers compensation claim to be compensable, work activities must be proven to be the main contributing factor to your worker contracting the virus. The insurer will assess each claim on its individual merits.
The insurer must commence weekly payments of compensation within seven days of notification, unless they have a reasonable excuse.
If you have not been notified of the insurer’s decision within seven days, you can contact SIRA for assistance
My worker is unable to obtain a Certificate of Capacity / Fitness because of COVID-19. What do we do?
If the worker’s nominated treating doctor thinks it is appropriate, a Certificate of Capacity/Fitness can be issued via a telehealth consultation either through a video or telephone conference.
From 17 April, the treating psychologist or physiotherapist can issue a subsequent or second certificate of capacity/fitness via a telehealth consultation.
If your worker is still unable to obtain a certificate, you should contact the insurer for advice.
I have employed a worker using the JobCover Placement Program, but I can no longer offer work. What can I do?
If you have had to scale back or close your workplace temporarily due to the impact of COVID-19, the JobCover Placement Program can be put on hold until you are able to resume operations.
This means the duration of the JobCover Placement Program for the worker will be extended by the time employment has been on hold.
You can suggest that your worker contacts the insurer who is managing their claim to advise them of this change.
You should also keep a record of the period you have placed employment on hold to support your future claim for incentive payments. This will support your claim when your business re-opens along with the usual proof of payment of wages to the worker.