This update was co-authored by Jonathan O’Connor, Law Graduate
On 30 June 2016, we reported that the WA Government was drafting a bill to benefit the dependants of deceased workers. On 1 November 2017, the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Bill 2017 (WA) (Bill) was introduced into WA’s Legislative Assembly by Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston.
The Bill aims to increase the entitlements for dependants of deceased workers and to simplify and expedite the claims process. Following the Second Reading Speech, the Bill will be voted on by the Legislative Assembly before being sent to the Legislative Council, where it is likely to undergo further changes.
The Bill proposes to insert ‘Division 5A – Claims by dependants and others for compensation’ and ‘Schedule 1A – Compensation entitlements when worker has died’ into the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) (Act), among other various consequential amendments.
What you need to know
- The lump sum entitlement for dependants of deceased workers will be increased from $308,339 to $562,302.50. This sum is 250% of the current maximum amount payable to injured workers for non-fatal injuries and will be indexed annually. The apportionment between dependants is stipulated, with partners receiving a higher portion than children.
- The weekly child’s allowance will be increased from $58.90 to $133, indexed annually.
- Other entitlements, such as for funeral expenses, will also be increased.
- A stipulated regime for dependents’ claims to be promptly assessed by insurers will be implemented, along with a fast-track process enabling claims to be expeditiously determined by a WorkCover WA arbitrator.
- ‘De facto partner’ will no longer be defined in the Act. It will have the meaning given in the Interpretation Act 1984 (WA). Significantly, the two-year requirement to qualify as a de facto partner of a deceased worker will be removed.
For more information on this update or any other workers’ compensation matters please contact Stephen Williams on (08) 9321 3755.
The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.