Can I change jobs while on WorkCover (Vic)?
If you have a WorkCover claim on foot many people may wonder whether they are able to leave their job for a new job, and not have their WorkCover entitlements impacted.
The short answer is yes, a person is able to leave a job if they have a WorkCover claim on foot.
However there are a number of considerations.
These will be explored further in this article.
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Entitlement to weekly payments may be impacted
If weekly payments of compensation are being paid by the WorkCover insurer, if you leave a job and start a new one, then your weekly payments may be impacted.
This is explored in depth in this article.
In order to ensure they’re not impacted (as much as possible), you need to make it clear that the reason you’re leaving the job (if it is in fact the case) is because of your inability to perform the work as you did pre injury because of your injury, illness or condition.
Make sure you specify this in your resignation letter to the employer.
If you do so, there should be no impact on your weekly payments.
Entitlement to medical expenses
If you leave jobs while on WorkCover, your entitlement to the payment of medical and like expenses should not be impacted.
In most cases you should be able to claim medical expenses in the same way as you have been doing while employed with the injury employer.
One thing to keep in mind however is that from time to time the WorkCover insurer may review your entitlement to a particular type of medical treatment or all of your medical treatment.
It is possible that if you are with a new employer, particularly if you’re working a demanding job, that the WorkCover insurer could conclude that the need for a particular treatment is not related to your employment with the original employer but due to your new job. Something to keep in mind.
Entitlement to an impairment benefit
This is the first of two potential lump sum claims payable under the WorkCover scheme.
Leaving a job while on WorkCover for a new job should have no impact on your entitlement to claim an impairment benefit.
This is even if you increase your hours in a new job.
Entitlement to a common law claim
In a general sense, leaving a job while on WorkCover for a new job should have no impact on your entitlement to claim common-law damages.
That being said, there are a couple of aspects of a common law claim that need to be explored further.
If you intend to pursue a common law claim with a claim for economic loss, and this is particularly relevant.
In order to be entitled to pursue economic loss damages, you need to show that you have a 40% loss of earning capacity as a consequence of the injury.
So let’s say that you are working in your job prior to the injury and you were earning $1000 week in week out.
In order to claim economic loss damages, you need to show that you have lost 40% of your earning capacity.
Using the example above, this would mean that there would be no job that you could do where you would earn $600 or more dollars per week.
So continuing on with this example, let’s say that you leave this employment for another job that perhaps isn’t as physical and allows you to work full time hours. Perhaps in at administrative role.
If you return to work earning a similar income to what you were earning prior to the injury (or more), then if you manage to sustain this level of employment you will not be entitled to claim economic loss damages.
Economic loss damages are explained in detail here.
This part of a claim can be significant.
Potentially, you are able to be compensated for your loss of earnings up until retirement age if from a medical point of you it is likely that you are to be restricted in your capacity to work into the future.
When changing jobs on WorkCover, you should discuss the new job with your treating doctor
While you’re on WorkCover, if you have an injury that persists, you should discuss the potential new job with your doctor or health practitioner.
You should ensure that they are aware as to what the job involves particularly if the job involves manual handling and you have a physical injury.
The doctor should be made aware as to what your role Will be, and what you will be required to do.
Yes, you are able to change jobs while on WorkCover.
And in general, your WorkCover claim should be largely unaffected.
Your entitlement to the payment of medical and like expenses and an impairment benefit lump sum should be unaffected.
If the reason that you are changing jobs while on WorkCover is because of the work related injury for which you have a WorkCover claim, then you should make this clear when you leave the job. If you do so, then your entitlement to weekly payments should be unaffected.
If you intend to pursue a common law claim with an economic loss component, then it is possible that changing a job will impact your claim if it is a job that puts you over the 40% loss of earnings threshold test.
If you are thinking of leaving a job for a new job while on WorkCover, it is best to get legal advice that is tailored to your situation.