Workers compensation is compensation payable to a worker who suffers an injury or disease arising out of or in the course of the worker’s employment.
A worker may be entitled to compensation for:
- weekly payments while incapacitated for work
- medical and other expenses
- rehabilitation expenses
- permanent impairment.
In some circumstances, a worker may also be able to make a common law damages claim.
Who is a worker
To be entitled to compensation, a person must be a worker.
A worker is someone who works under a contract of service or a training agreement. This includes casual employment. A contract does not have to be a formal, written document; it could be implied and/or a verbal agreement.
For more information about who is included and excluded from the definition of a worker, see Workers Compensation Handbook: The Basics. (PDF, 175.5 KB)
When a worker is entitled to compensation
A worker is entitled to workers compensation if they suffer an injury or disease that:
- arises out of or in the course of their employment, or
- their employment has contributed to by a substantial degree.
Injuries suffered in the following situations are specifically excluded:
- any injury that occurs while a worker is travelling between their home and work (unless the injury occurs during a deviation from their normal route that their employer tells, asks or authorises them to make)
- any injury that occurs during an absence from the workplace that was not authorised, directed or requested by their employer
- any injury that is caused by a worker’s serious or wilful misconduct (unless the injury results in their death, or serious and permanent incapacity)
- any injury that was intentionally self-inflicted.
A worker is entitled to compensation for a disease where their work is the major or most significant factor in their disease.
Some injuries and diseases are contracted by a gradual process, or may not become apparent until sometime after initial exposure or contraction.
Industrial deafness is the permanent loss of hearing caused by a worker being exposed to industrial noise in their employment.
A worker is entitled to workers compensation for industrial deafness that occurred after 16 August 1995. They must have suffered more than 5% binaural hearing impairment due to industrial deafness since 16 August 1995.