Can I get COMPO for COVID-19?
Many workers, particularly those in medical professions are concerned around the worker’s compensation issues of catching COVID-19 at work. It’s a complicated issue but one worker’s compensation regulators have been addressing as the virus emerges in the community.
Ultimately to be paid for a COVID-19 work-related claim, it must be proved that you were exposed to the virus in the course of your work. With current contact tracing arrangements in place throughout Australia, this shouldn’t be too difficult however if community transmission escalates, then this may be an issue for both employees, employers and insurers.
So what is considered a ‘work-related’ exposure to COVID-19?
The various worker’s compensation regulators say that each claim lodged for COVID-19 will be considered based on its own individual circumstances.
“A worker’s compensation insurer will need to determine if your employment was ‘a significant contributing factor’ to your confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.”
If confirmation is received that your exposure to COVID-19 occurred in the course of your employment, whether at or away from your place of employment, then the relevant worker’s compensation insurer will need to determine if your employment was ‘a significant contributing factor’ to your confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Typically a workers compensation insurer will obtain a range of medical information to assist in making this determination.
Does my employer have an obligation to keep workplaces free of COVID-19?
Short answer…YES…all employers have an obligation to maintain a safe place of work. That also includes ensuring that workers cannot be exposed to communicable diseases like COVID-19 in the course of their employment.
This means that employers need to assess risks and develop plans to ensure workers risks are minimised through a range of controls.
Compo for COVID-19 is certainly possible but it will be a complicated process for determining liability with cases and responsibility for implementation of controls.