Recently I have received a number of enquires from people who have been injured at work who are concerned (or have been told) that they aren’t entitled to workers compensation because they weren’t employed on the books, i.e. they were being paid cash and were illegal workers, or in illegal employment.
I am often told by these people that their employers will not make a workers compensation claim. The reasons told vary, but they all usually come down to the employer not wanting to get into trouble under employment law. The injured person has often been provided with sub-award pay and conditions, has not been paid their mandatory superannuation benefits and income tax has not been accounted for.
It is easy to see why employers do not want to bring the nature of the employment contract to the attention of the relevant government bodies, but where does this leave the injured worker?
Section 24 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 provides protection. This act deems, for the purpose of a workers compensation claim, that the injured work has a valid contract of employment, thus allowing access to workers compensation benefits.
Unfortunately, it is not in the interests of employers who engage in illegal employment practices to notify injured workers that they are protected. Many even go so far as to tell them they are not.
In these circumstances the employer will not provide the identity of the workers compensation insurer, provide claim forms or assist in the notification/claim process.
If this has happened, or happens to you, the best thing to do is seek legal representation immediately. Our workers compensation team can assist you by providing advice on your rights, speaking to your employer and guiding you through the process. Contact us today on 1800 25 1800 or by making an online enquiry, for a free and confidential assessment of your claim.
Written by Ryan Brown.
Ryan Brown is a Solicitor in Ian Chipchase and Anna Tavianatos’ Practice Group. Ryan is passionate about workers rights and has particular interest and experience in bringing compensation claims for people who have been injured in the workplace.