Age discrimination in Western Australia workers compensation legislation has been abolished by state parliament, according to a report from the Government of Western Australia.
Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said changes to the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 passed in August, come into effect on Oct. 1, 2011, giving all employees the same entitlement to workers comp regardless of age.(WCxKit)
O’Brien said the Act had clearly been unfair to workers over the age of 64, previously entitled to only one year of income payments.
“The change means contributions older workers make to the WA economy and society are recognized in the workers compensation legislation,” he said.
“With Western Australia facing an aging workforce, record low unemployment and a need to maintain skilled and experienced people, the removal of any barriers to working past 65 will have a positive economic and social impact.”
The changes are part of a number of Liberal-National Government legislative reforms to take effect on Oct. 1 and result from a 2009 Government review of workers compensation.
The other significant change is the extension of the safety net which ensures seriously injured workers are protected if their employer is uninsured.
“Injured workers should not have to pay for the unlawful business practices of the very small number of employers who fail to take out insurance,” the Minister said.
“The changes mean that in these cases WorkCover WA will meet the costs of damages awarded by the Court if negligence is proven and the employer does not have insurance.”
The workers comp dispute resolution system is also improved through the amendments, creating more accessible and timely conciliation and arbitration services.
“These changes have been made in response to strong stakeholder feedback about the need to improve the dispute resolution arrangements,” O’Brien added.(WCxKit)
“Only a small number of workers compensation matters end up in a dispute between the parties. When this happens it is important the matter can be dealt with in a straightforward and transparent way.”
Changes to the dispute resolution system take effect from Dec. 1, 2011.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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