Many businesses are unsure what to do when they have an employee with a non-work related injury. Common questions that arise include; As an employer, what is my role? Can the injury become a workers compensation claim? Where can I get help?
Non-Work Related Injuries – To help businesses, we identify key areas below:
What is a non-work related injury?
A non-work related injury/illness is defined as an injury or illness that did not arise out of or in the course of the workers employment. It is important for businesses to be aware of an injured worker returning to work after suffering an injury, especially a non-work related one, as they can be difficult to manage.
How will it affect my business?
However, it is inevitable that these injuries can add unprecedented complications to your work place as they are often unable to complete their required duties. Additionally, if a worker returns to work before they are fit to do so and consequently aggravate his or her condition, the employer may find they are liable for a workers’ compensation claim. In Australia, it is against the law to discriminate against a worker because of an injury or illness, including a non-work related injury. Employers are also liable if staff members discriminate against each other because of injury or illness. The worker may say they are being discriminated against because they have a disability and they’re being treated differently from other workers.
What about my insurance premium?
In Australia, these injuries fortunately do not directly affect the insurance premiums for the employer given the injured worker is not able to claim it under workers’ compensation. This is because it has not occurred from performing work duties, hence do not fit within the strict criteria of workers’ compensation.
However, as discussed above, if their condition is aggravated with work related duties, the employer will be held liable for the aggravation and hence the injured worker will be able to lodge a claim under workers’ compensation. This may potentially raise the premium prices for the next 3 years.
What do I have to do?
Although you are not held liable to their injury, employers are still required to provide support and assistance to their workers who suffer a non-work related injury/illness or medical condition. Ensuring the injured worker can return safely to work as soon as possible, and that they are not treated unfavourably is essential in maintaining a healthy and productive workplace.
If a worker is unable to perform their core duties, the employer is not expected to keep a position open indefinitely or make adjustments that cause unjustifiable hardship.
It is important to know that supporting an injured worker to return safely to work as quickly as possible is good for business productivity and supports equal opportunity good practice. It assists the worker to reduce the financial and emotional impact on themselves and their family and can be an important factor in helping them recover and return to normal life.
For further information regarding Return to Work following a non-work related injury read our previous article Non-Work Related Injuries & Illness