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The state government has tightened the definition of a ‘worker’ for the purposes of the workers’ compensation legislation in Queensland. From 1 July 2013, fewer independent contractors will be required to be covered under a principal’s workers’ compensation policy. The change should be welcomed by business owners as the new definition is easier to understand and apply.

Currently, the definition of a ‘worker’ under the workers’ compensation legislation in Queensland captures many different types of contractors. Although contractors often run their own businesses they are still considered to be a ‘worker’ for the purposes of workers’ compensation.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told parliament “Many of these individuals currently already have 24-hour sickness and accident insurance, and the change will provide clarity for them and reduce costs to the employers with whom they contract.”

The new the definition of a ‘worker’ will be:

  • a person who works under a contract; and
  • in relation to the work, is an employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG withholding under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth).

This means that business owners will only be required to include an individual contractor under their workers’ compensation policy if the contractor meets the two points noted above.

Who Will Be Impacted?

Business owners will find the new definition easier to understand and apply. Contractors and sub-contractors who are currently required to be covered, should ensure they have appropriate cover for their own circumstances.

Next Steps

Business owners should review their arrangements with any individual contractors to determine whether the contractor will continue to be required to be covered by its workers’ compensation policy, and advise Workcover of any changes.

If you have any questions about these legislation changes, please contact your Pilot representative on (07) 3023 1300.