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Presumption for COVID-19 affected workers

Recent amendments to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 introduced a presumption that workers in prescribed employment who contract COVID-19 contracted the virus in the course of their employment.

The presumption makes it easier for workers who contract COVID-19 to receive workers compensation entitlements to support their recovery.

The Workers Compensation Amendment (Consequential COVID-19 Matters) Regulation 2020 commenced on 24 July 2020. The Regulation sets out the medical tests and results for these workers, how the presumption applies and further types of prescribed employment.

The changes mean that workers in prescribed employment who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are automatically presumed to have contracted the disease in the course of their employment (unless the contrary is established). Eligible workers are presumed to be incapable of work until 21 days from the date of injury, or if the worker still has COVID-19 at this date, until the date marking the end of the worker’s incapacity on the worker’s certificate of capacity.

SIRA has also outlined expectations for insurers when applying the presumption in the new Standard of practice 32.

Further information regarding the COVID-19 presumption is available on SIRA’s Claims management guide.