IR Q&A issue 5

Posted 29 November 2018

IR Q&A issue 5

Q: What is meant by accident pay under the Award? Isn't this why I pay workers compensation?

A: Workers compensation and accident pay are two separate things so it's important not to get them confused. Workers compensation allows for an injured worker (where the injury has occurred at work or whilst travelling on a work-related matter) access to management and income support where they are unable to work. Workers compensation is compulsory for employers in the ACT and as an employer you have a number of obligations. To check your obligations, click here.

Accident pay is provided for in some modern awards. Specifically, Clause 27 of the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 provides for accident pay for construction workers for up to 26 weeks. This clause came into effect from 15 October 2015.

This means that where an employee is injured at work and is on workers compensation, the employer is required to pay for the difference between the amount that the employee is paid from the workers comp provider and what they would have been entitled to receive for their ordinary hours of work (including the RDO provision) but excluding over award payments.

There are certain rules around the continuity of making accident pay after the employee has been terminated or where an employee has returned to work on modified duties or reduced hours.

Q: I am putting on a Christmas party for my workers. What can I do so as to make it a good event for everyone?

A: Christmas parties are a great way to celebrate the achievements of your workers over the past year. Obviously you want to make the event fun, but you (as the employer) also have a number of responsibilities which if not taken seriously, can result in unintended consequences.

Some tips to minimise the risk of injuries or potential harassment can include the following:

  • Revisiting your workplace policies around bullying and harassment and reminding staff of their obligations - these also apply to the work Christmas party!
  • Reminding your workers that they also have a responsibility for their own health and safety as well as others!
  • Having designated people at the Christmas party responsible for certain tasks, such as arranging food and drinks and supervision to ensure that inappropriate behaviour and/or excessive drinking does not get out of hand. Having a function at a licensed premises will also ensure the responsible service of alcohol.
  • Making sure that you have a start and finish time. This will allow you to be clear on when the festivities will cease and will allow your staff to make appropriate arrangements to either arrange a lift home (or to move on to another location).
  • Deal with issues as they arise - for example if there is inappropriate behaviour, deal with it as soon as it occurs.
  • Have fun and remember to set the standard that you'd expect from your employees.

If you have any queries or would like to ask a question, please contact:

Kristie Burt
Legal Manager
6175 5919

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