Workers Compensation

Background

The Workers Compensation Section is responsible for the administration of the Norfolk Island Public Workers Compensation Scheme which was established to provide affordable workplace insurance cover for the employees of Norfolk Island.

The Workers Compensation cover applies only at work, and does not include off-duty time or travelling to or from work.

The amount of compensation is determined according to precise details contained in the Employment Act 1988 (the Act).

The Workers Compensation Scheme assures four kinds of assistance in the event of a work-related accident or disability. These are, -

•    Payment of the cost of medical care.
•    Payment of the employee’s usual wages, once the first week has been paid by the employer, while the employee remains unable to work. These wage payments have a maximum time period of two years from the time the incapacity began.
•     Payment of a lump sum of money in compensation for permanent loss or impairment of function. There are special provisions covering industrial deafness, occupational disease, and work-related heart attack or stroke. The size of the lump sum is determined by reference to a detailed chart of types of loss or impairment, which is set out as the “Schedule” at the end of the Employment Act 1988.
•    In the event of a fatal accident, payment to the employee’s dependant of up to 80% of the employee’s normal wages for up to two years, and a lump sum payment, according to the degree of dependency.

Common-Law

The Act’s provisions for workers compensation replace the old procedure where an employer could be forced to pay damages if an employee was harmed by the employer’s negligence. Claims for such damages are not allowed to be made on Norfolk Island in any situation where the workers compensation scheme covers the employee.

Negligence, and the proving of negligence, are no longer an issue. An employee who suffers a work-related accident, disease or disability may be compensated through workers compensation scheme and not through any other legal path.

This “no fault” system benefits not only employees but employers. Uninsured employers have no protection at all.

Safe Working Conditions – Employer’s Duties        

Most, if not all, Norfolk Island employers have adequately safe and healthy working conditions, however the Act puts a legal responsibility for safety on employers, and you should be aware of this.

Employers have an obligation to provide, so far is practicable, a working environment that is safe and risk-free. That includes the place where work is done; the systems of work that are used; the handling and storage of plant or substances that are used; providing adequate training, instructions and supervision of employees; and all other aspects of “the working environment” that could be unsafe or harmful to health.

If the work your employees do may make first-aid facilities or equipment necessary in case of an accident, you should make sure these are available, and that employees are given first-aid training if that is necessary.

Employee’s Duties

The Act puts a responsibility on employees, as well as employers, to have regard for safety and health at work. Employees are urged to be mindful of safety risks, and to mention them to their employer.

Accident Reports

If an employee suffers a work-related injury or health affliction that takes the employee off work, the employer is required to fill out an Accident Report giving the details and lodged with the Workers Compensation Scheme within 7 days from the accident.

The Workers Compensation office is located in New Cascade Road next to the Telecom building and has a staff of two officers and is responsible for -

•    Collection of monthly compensation levies
•    Collation and recording of compensation data
•    Assessing and processing of applications for compensation
•    Monitoring compensation to recipients medical and rehabilitation
•    Monitoring the loss injury time of recipients
•    Payment of medical expenses and wages for approved compensation claims
•    Prepares claims for Insurance Underwriter

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday - 8am to 4:30pm

Resources

Workers Compensation operations are determined by the Employment Act 1988(NI) & Employment Regulations 1991 (NI).

www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017Q00002
www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017Q00001

For all employment issues including minimum standards, you will need to contact the Fair Work Commission and/or the Fair Work Act 2009.
 
www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C01108

Contact Us

Employment Liaison Officer
New Cascade Road
NORFOLK ISLAND 2899
Phone: +6723 24272
Fax: +6723 23322
Email: kim.edward [at] nirc.gov.nf (subject: Contact%20from%20NIRC%20Website)