Recently I recorded my contribution to an online conference called the RTW Summit. This conference is first to Australia although other organisations have proposed such a format previously but never eventuated.
The conference has been devised and organised by Mark Stipic, a young Return To Work professional who started a podcast recently. He is intelligent and one of those people who is not afraid to take risks in the emerging world of social media.
“Comcare is investigating Australia Post over allegations that some senior managers manipulated data on injured employees’ absences from work to meet key performance indicators and secure hefty bonuses.”
This is allegedly done by
“delaying injury claims,
recording workers on sick leave when they are really absent on injury, and
paying for medical expenses in lieu of workers lodging compensation claims.”
In October 2014, one of Australia’s Prime Ministers, Gough Whitlam, died at the age of 98. Whitlam introduced major social reforms, many which still exist today (just). One reform he valued but was not able to achieve was a national accident compensation scheme. It is worth noting when reading of the current economic and moral arguments over workplace responsibility and over-regulation that Whitlam’s national accident compensation scheme included workers compensation.
In May 2013, Workcover Queensland supported the government’s intention to change the definition of worker to match that of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The definition re-emphasises the significance of the employer/employee relationship. Workplace health and safety laws through most of Australia have recently changed to remove the reliance on the employer/employee relationship with the intention of clarifying the lines of responsibility for preventing harm. The diversity between workers’ compensation and OHS definitions unnecessarily complicates the management of a worker’s health through the linear experience of employment.
The government believes such changes will reduce “red tape” but only in the narrow context of workers compensation. The Work Health and Safety Act expands the definition of worker but another piece of legislation in the same State restricts it. Inconsistencies of concepts are likely to lead to duplications, confusion and arguments that may generate as much unnecessary business and legal costs as the initiatives were intended to save. Continue reading “Short-sighted redefinition of worker”