As you’re undoubtedly aware, your workers insurance premium is based on your industry, business type, how much you pay in annual wages and a range of other factors, depending on your state. With COVID-19 impacting many businesses and workers, the Australian Government has introduced the JobKeeper payment to supplement or replace wages for businesses struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic. While many businesses have welcomed this, they have also raised questions about what the impact on their premiums will be.
As the Commonwealth JobKeeper legislation does not specifically address this detail, the regulators in each state and territory are each making their own decisions about whether or not to include wages paid to workers through the $1500 fortnightly payment of JobKeeper in premium calculations.
In NSW, the regulatory body, SIRA, has just released a bulletin detailing their advice on this, stating that:
‘It has been determined that JobKeeper payments made to workers who performed no work during the period to which the payment relates, will be excluded from the amount of wages used to calculate premium.’ (SIRA Bulletin, Issue 91 8/2020)
SIRA explains the reasoning behind this decision, pointing out that workers who are not performing work duties are unlikely to sustain a work-related injury that would be compensable under the workers compensation system. As such, the payments to these workers should not impact the premiums of the employers.
JobKeeper payments made to workers who continue to perform work will be included in the wages total that is used to calculate an employer’s premium. This is regardless of whether their capacity has changed or not. As in the previous example, the reasoning is based on the likelihood of an employee sustaining a compensable injury, which is increased if workers are still performing work duties.
Not all state regulators or insurers have released advice on this issue yet, but you can keep an eye out for updates on the site of each regulator below.
As always, Recovery Partners is here to assist, and we’re committed to helping businesses navigate their work health and safety responsibilities during COVD-19 and beyond. If you have any questions, get in touch with Recovery Partners by calling 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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