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Workers Compensation amendment to put retailers at ease

NSW Parliament will introduce new legislation to amend the Workers Compensation Act, removing the assumption that workers with COVID caught the virus at work.

Changes to the Act were made in May 2020 and included a presumption that workers who contracted COVID had done so at work. Workers will still be able to claim workers compensation should they contract the virus at work, this legislation just removes the assumption.

Now armed with greater knowledge of COVID and its transmission, NSW Premier Dominic Perrotett said it was time to repeal that section so that businesses aren’t hit with an unexpected spike in their insurance bills.

“When the NSW Government originally made the amendments, we had little information about how COVID-19 was spread and whether it was more likely to be contracted in workplaces, and we certainly didn’t have a vaccine rollout.

“Now that the economy is steadily reopening, we want businesses investing in new staff and higher wages, not inflated insurance bills.”

Paul Zahra, Australian Retail Association (ARA) CEO, said the ARA welcomed the introduction of the legislation.

“The assumption that anyone with Covid caught the virus at work is now outdated, given what we now know about the virus and with NSW now one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world. Failing to remove this assumption would expose retail businesses both large and small to workers compensation claims of $78.8 million.”

Zahra said this amendment will ease the minds of businesses and allow them to look ahead to the festive season.

“Retailers are looking forward to a further easing of Covid restrictions next month and are ramping up their operations for the all-important Christmas trading period. We need businesses focussed on maximising their trading potential, and not worrying about higher insurance costs.”