An article in the Age on 18 August 2020 regarding “Health staff want automatic WorkCover rights, as new mask concerns emerge” detailed concerns of health workers in having their WorkCover claims accepted automatically by WorkSafe when lodged.
As personal injuries lawyers at Gordon Legal, our team have the privilege of looking after members of the Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation in Victoria and the Victorian Ambulance Union. These Unions and their members are at the forefront of the war against COVID-19. Their members and health workers more broadly currently make up approximately 15% of all diagnosed cases in Victoria.
There is currently significant miscommunication and misunderstanding in relation to whether a claim for COVID-19 by a worker will be accepted. In our experience this has resulted in workers not lodging claims once diagnosed. This is unacceptable and unfair to those who have contracted this disease and confront it without the support of our WorkCover system. We don’t yet know enough about the long term health effects of contracting COVID-19. For some, it may just mean a couple of weeks off work. For others, they may have long term medical issues that will require treatment and support. For this reason, having the capacity and the know-how to access WorkCover entitlements is important.