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WorkCover & Body Corporate FAQs

Is it true that bodies corporate do not need WorkCover insurance for contractors contracting through the company, but might need cover for sole trader contractors?

A corporate entity cannot be a “worker” for the purpose of the WorkCover Act and therefore the WorkCover obligations do not apply. A sole trader contract might, depending on the circumstances, be a “worker” for the purpose of the WorkCover Act. The mere fact that a contractor is contracting as a sole trader does not of itself mean that the contractor is definitely a “worker” for the purpose of the WorkCover Act.

Just because a person is working under a contract, it does not necessarily absolve the body corporate from ensuring that there is WorkCover in place for that person. If the person is engaged under a contract and that contract is predominantly service/labour only, then WorkCover may apply. Is this correct?

Yes, that is correct. Whether or not a particular contractor is a “worker” for the purposes of the WorkCover Act will depend upon the circumstances of the engagement as discussed above.

If this is the case, would it extend to a partnership where the partnership is two individual names and there is no trust or other complication?

No. A partnership cannot be a “worker” for the purposes of the WorkCover Act.

If no wages are declared at the beginning of the policy period, will this exclude the body corporate from making a claim if circumstances change?

Probably. If a body corporate’s circumstances change during the policy period, its WorkCover insurance policy ought to be updated.

What is the primary difference between WorkCover Insurance, Voluntary Workers’ Insurance and Public Liability Insurance?

There are four categories of people who might enter scheme property: visitors, voluntary workers/office holders, employees and contractors. The different types of insurance are as follows:

Public Liability Insurance - this insurance indemnifies the body corporate as property owners for legal liability to pay compensation for personal injury or property damage.

Voluntary Workers' Insurance - this insurance provides compensation for loss of income to a person who sustains bodily injury while voluntarily working on behalf of the body corporate

WorkCover Insurance - this insurance indemnifies the body corporate in respect of its legal liability to its "workers", as that term is defined by the WorkCover Act.

Does WorkCover award damages for injury or just pay for lost wages and medical expenses while a worker can no longer work?

There are two types of claims:

  1. statutory (no fault) claims;
  2. common law claims (where the employee seeks common law action through the courts against their employer).

Statutory claims - for statutory claims, compensation is paid regardless of who was at fault for causing the injury. Payments and benefits (known as statutory compensation) received for these claims may include weekly payments as income replacement, lump sums to compensate for permanent impairment and hospital and medical expense.

Common law claims - common law claims involve an injured worker suing their employer for negligence. Generally, a common law claim can only proceed after a statutory claim has been lodged, and then accepted by WorkCover or the relevant self-insurer. A common law claim may only proceed when WorkCover or the self-insurer issues a notice of assessment of injury. The courts may award payments (known as common law damages) for economic loss, pain and suffering, legal costs and medical and hospital costs.

Must a body corporate incur a minimum level of wages before a WorkCover policy is required?

No. Whether or not a particular contractor is a “worker” for the purposes of the WorkCover Act will depend upon the circumstances of the engagement as discussed above.

 

For more information about body corporate law browse our website or use the enquiry form on the right to contact our lawyers.