WorkCover Queensland Cracking Down on Uninsured Companies

During 2015, uninsured businesses submitted 260 workplace injury claims with WorkCover Queensland, costing approximately $6.5 million, and its audits of 650 Queensland businesses found that 3 percent were uninsured.

WorkCover Queensland -- for the past 20 years the entity that has provided compulsory accident insurance policies to employers in Australia's largest state -- announced this month it has increased its compliance visits to employers' sites and audits of employers' wages by making use of data from the Australian Tax Office and the Office of State Revenue. The goal is to ensure the employers have appropriate workers' compensation insurance, because every employer must have an accident insurance policy with WorkCover.

If an employee is injured at work, he or she can apply for workers' compensation no matter who or what caused their injury.

The agency said during 2015, uninsured businesses submitted 260 workplace injury claims with WorkCover Queensland, costing approximately $6.5 million, and its audits of 650 Queensland businesses found that 8 percent of employers did not declare wages paid to contractors deemed workers and 3 percent were uninsured.

Stacey Looney, WorkCover Queensland's manager of customer compliance, said the vast majority of businesses do the right thing by having an accident insurance policy and paying the right amount of premium. However, "if your Queensland clients are employing workers, they are breaking the law if they don't have a WorkCover accident insurance policy," she said. "Uninsured employers who lodge WorkCover claims are held to account and subject to significant financial penalties, including the cost of the claim. These penalties can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for severe injuries."

She said a policy costs as little as $200 per year. "It's never too late to ensure your clients are complying. Small businesses covered by WorkCover enjoy benefits including protection for the business and workers against injuries and protection against penalties for employing workers without having a policy," she said.

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