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Termination whilst on WorkCover – is it Legal?

If you’re injured at work and on workers compensation, your employer cannot legally terminate you within the first six months since your injury purely because you’re unfit to resume work.

Worker Terminated Whilst On Workers Compensation Looking Up His Rights

In NSW, an employer can only terminate an injured worker six months after the date of injury if they’ve met all their obligations to you. But even so, under the NSW Workers Compensation Act, you would still be eligible to benefits and there are certainly avenues for reinstatement – if that’s what you desire.

In this article we explain what you should know about termination of employment while on workers compensation, your entitlements and options available if you’re facing redundancy while on workers compensation.

Your employer’s responsibilities to you when you’re on workers compensation/WorkCover.

Before an employer considers terminating you, even after the ‘protected period’ (six months from the date of injury), they’re obligated to do everything possible in order to help you get back to work.

Your employer is required to:

If your employer fails to adhere to any of these obligations, you should immediately report this to the workers compensation insurer and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA). Failure to adhere to these obligations could see your employer at risk of heavy fines in excess of $11,000.

Termination of employment whilst on workers compensation/WorkCover – what happens to your entitlements?

The good news is, if you’re terminated for not being able to work due to your injuries whilst on workers compensation, you’ll still be entitled to your workers compensation benefits as long as your doctor continues to certify you unfit to carry out your pre-injury duties.

It’s also important to note that if your employer was paying your weekly benefits prior to your termination, this will now stop, and the workers compensation insurer will now pay your weekly benefits directly to you.

Termination of employment whilst on workers compensation/WorkCover – can you be reinstated?

If you’re terminated or made redundant purely because you’re unfit for work due to your work injuries, you certainly have a right to apply for reinstatement when you are fit. If your doctor has certified you fit to resume your pre-injury duties, you can apply to the Industrial Relations Commission for a reinstatement order as long as this application is made within two years of the dismissal.

Can you sue if you’re terminated whilst on workers compensation/WorkCover?

If you’ve been terminated or made redundant purely because you’re unfit for work due to your injuries, you can still sue for damages as long as :

If you meet the above criteria, you can make what’s called a work injury damages claim which is a lump sum payout for past and future loss of earnings, compensation for wages and superannuation lost because you have been unable to work or are unable to work into the future.

Why it’s important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been terminated whilst on workers compensation/WorkCover.

Juggling the fallout from your termination and navigating the workers compensation system on your own, all while recovering from injury can be a lot to handle. Having an experienced workers compensation lawyer on your side will give you a much better chance of success. They will be able to review your claim and make sure you receive your full entitlements.