Workers compensation is a financial compensation given to employees should they become injured or ill as a result of their work. It will usually include payments such as a lump sum payment, recurring loss of income payments and usually includes assistance to pay for medical related assistance.
This guide outlines the obligations of you as an employer, the steps involved in the event of an incident and the benefits of providing a fair workers compensation plan.
As an employer, you have set obligations to not only provide a safe work environment but also compensation to employees should they injure themselves at work.
Check Local Legal Requirements
It’s important to check the worker’s compensations laws in your area as they can often vary from state to state. The compensation requirements are also affected depending on the structure of your business and number of employees. In Australia, workers compensation insurance is compulsory for every business no matter the size or structure. The difference of laws from location to location is vast, so getting a solid understanding of the laws in your area is vital.
Understanding the requirements in your state will help you understand which workers compensation insurance cover you should take out to cover your business and employees. Without adequate insurance, the outlay from paying a worker’s medical costs and loss of income sums could have a seriously harmful effect on your company.
Steps Involved In The Event Of An Incident
If a worker is injured in the workplace, it’s important to respond to the incident quickly. After you have responded, take some time to rectify the problem to reduce the chance of it happening again. Clear communication and transparency with the worker is crucial during the recovery period.
1. Respond to The Incident
Once an employee becomes injured, provide immediate first aid (when needed) and seek medical assistance. Report the incident, taking down all personal details of the staff involved and exactly what happened to cause the injury. Don’t look to assign blame to any particular staff or the systems in place. Instead, focus on ways you can rectify the issue and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
2. Support Your Worker
This is where you may be required to provide a loss of income payment or lump sum to the worker. You may also need to assist by paying medical bills that are required due to the incident. This is why it’s important that you take out adequate workers compensation insurance the help lighten the financial load the payments will have on your business.
It important to provide support and keep in contact with your employee while they are receiving medical assistance. It’s also a great idea to encourage co-workers to keep in contact with the employee for support.
3. Identify New Duties If Staff Cannot Perform Previous Duties
While the staff member is in recovery, they may not be able to perform their usual daily duties as they did before when coming back to the workplace. Identify some temporary tasks and duties for them to complete while they are recovering.
The injury may cause permanent damage to the worker meaning they won’t be able to perform their previous duties at all. If you are unable to provide alternative work in your business due to a lack of suitable jobs, it’s important that you assist in helping the employee find a new job in a different business where they can perform appropriate duties.
4. Create A Plan and Goals
While the employee is in recovery, set a plan with goals for them to reach during their recovery period before they get back to their full schedule of tasks. It’s important to have clear communication with the worker at this time so you can develop a realistic and fair plan together.
Create an agreement outlining the number of hours expected, duties to be completed and review dates. This should be monitored and changed depending on the speed of recovery and ability of the worker.
Benefits of Providing a Fair Workers Compensation Plan
Being a responsible employer and offering a fair and just workers compensation plan will provide some great benefits to your business.
- Improve and maintain a good employer-employee relationship
- Show employees that they are appreciated and valued
- Maintains the skillset of your employee
- Reduces the cost of hiring and training new staff
These benefits are likely to give staff a more pleasant and stress-free working environment. This is known to increase staff productivity and boosts staff morale throughout the workplace.
If you’re ever unsure of your requirements as a business owner in relation to workers compensation, speak to your local authority or a workers compensation insurance company who will run you through what is expected of you as an employer.
Author: Alex Hamilton
Alex is interested in the constant changes in businesses and how small business owners can adapt and embrace these changes. He is often writing informative pieces on efficient business practices and providing some great ideas for SMEs.