Essential workers and those who work in at-risk working environments now have increased protections in NSW. The Workers Compensation Act 1987 has been amended to include a new section 19B, creating a presumption in favour of those working in ‘prescribed employment’ who contract COVID-19 that the disease was contracted in the course of their employment. Prescribed employment includes those employees working in the following industries:
- the retail industry (other than businesses providing only on-line retail);
- the health care sector, including ambulance officers and public health employees; disability and aged care facilities;
- educational institutions, including pre-schools, schools and tertiary institutions (other than establishments providing only on-line teaching services);
- police and emergency services (including fire brigades and rural fire services);
- refuges, halfway houses and homeless shelters;
- passenger transport services;
- libraries; courts and tribunals;
- correctional centres and detention centres;
- restaurants, clubs and hotels; the construction industry;
- places of public entertainment or instruction (including cinemas, museums, galleries, cultural institutions and casinos); and
- the cleaning industry.
This is a welcome measure for those essential workers and those workers who face an elevated risk of exposure due to their workplaces.
With restrictions easing, employers of workers in prescribed employment and essential workers must ensure they are fulfilling their health and safety obligations to their employees, to prevent workers contracting or coming into contact with COVID-19.
For all advice around your rights to Workers Compensation contact Amanda Robinson, Associate at the Law of Office of Conrad Curry on (02) 4050 0330 or book an appointment.