Amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act WA Relating to Dependants of Deceased Workers

The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Bill 2017 (WA), which we commented on in our article dated 27 November 2017, was passed by both houses of the WA Parliament on 14 June 2018, without any changes being made by the Legislative Council. The Bill, which primarily addresses claims by dependants of deceased workers, received royal assent and became law on 20 June 2018.

As a result, several amendments have been made to the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) centred around increasing workers’ compensation entitlements for dependants of deceased workers and simplifying and expediting the claims process for claims by those dependants.

The major amendments to the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) include:

  • The lump sum entitlement for dependants of deceased workers has increased to 250% of the prescribed amount (the maximum amount payable to injured workers for non-fatal injuries) and will be indexed annually (this year the lump sum payable is  $570,767).
  • Any apportionment between dependants is stipulated, with partners receiving a higher portion than children.
  • The weekly child’s allowance has increased from $58.90 to $133, also to be indexed annually.
  • Other entitlements, such as for funeral expenses, are also increased.
  • There is a stipulated regime for dependants’ claims to be promptly assessed by insurers, along with a fast-track process enabling claims to be expeditiously determined by a WorkCover WA arbitrator.
  • ‘De facto partner’ is no longer defined in the Act and has 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 is removed.

Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said:

“I’m very pleased this new Bill will ensure dependants receive fair and accessible compensation… Fatal work accidents have a tragic and significant impact on family members, especially for those who are financially dependent on a loved one that dies at work.”

For more information speak to partner Stephen Williams on 08 9321 3755 or visit WorkCover WA

Co-authored by Jonathan O’Connor, Lawyer

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.