Can you take holidays while on WorkCover?
Yes, despite what many people believe, you can take holidays while on WorkCover.
Just because you’re on WorkCover or in receipt of payments, does not mean you are not allowed to travel anywhere.
Although you are allowed to take holidays while on WorkCover, you should keep in mind the following:
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Sort your certificates of capacity out before you leave for your holiday
If you’re in receipt of weekly payments, keep in mind that in order to be paid weekly payments you’ll need to obtain certificates of capacity.
In this case, if you’re away for more than 28 days, you’ll need to figure out how you go about getting certificates.
You can speak to the insurer and ask them to for approval to obtain certificates covering a longer period.
They’ll usually request a note from your doctor confirming that your incapacity is likely to continue.
Or if you can find a doctor in the area to which you’ll be travelling to, you can ask them to provide a certificate.
Obviously this is made more difficult if you’re travelling overseas.
Or you can wait until you’re back and ask the person that is providing you with certificates to backdate them.
Keep in mind however that if you don’t have a current certificate of capacity, you won’t get paid.
Certificates can be backdated for a period of no more than 90 days, and you’re entitled to be back paid any payments that you did not receive because you did not have a certificate.
Letting the insurer know about your travel
There is no legal or policy reason that requires you to let the insurer know that you are travelling overseas.
Note that this is distinct from moving overseas, which is very different.
There is a clear requirement to let the insurer know if you’re moving overseas.
If you are travelling within Australia, you do not need to let the insurer know.
However, if you don’t let the insurer know it is possible that a medical assessment (or other WorkCover related appointment) could be arranged during your time away, so you should keep this in mind. If you are away for more than 28 days, you should consider letting the insurer know.
Your holiday can be mentioned by the other side if you pursue a common law claim
If you decide to pursue a common law claim, the other side may use the fact that you took a holiday against you:
In order to succeed in a common law claim, one thing you need to show is that you have a ‘serious injury‘.
If you take a trip away and the other side believe you may be engaging in activities that are contrary to the restrictions you’ve said you now suffer, then they may seek to raise this.
For example, lets say you suffered a shoulder injury at work.
As a consequence, you say that you have trouble lifting heavy items, and you’ve lost strength in your arm.
You say that you are restricted in your ability to participate in tennis and do household chores and gardening.
If you elect to take the caravan away for a trip, the other side might make an issue out of the fact that you were able to push and manoeuvre the caravan and setup the awning, for example.
However, as long as you are not doing anything contrary to what you’ve said you can do, and if you can explain things adequately, you’ll be fine.
You could for example say that you had assistance manoeuvring the caravan from a neighbour in order to connect it to your car, or that the awning is new and requires very little effort to setup.
Another example – lets say you decided to jump on a plane for eight hours to travel overseas, but you’ve previously told doctors that you cannot travel in a car for more than an hour due to back pain.
In this instance, you would need to explain the discrepancy here.
For example, you might say that you, upon arrival in your destination, had to obtain physiotherapy or massage treatment on a couple of occasions and up your dosage of painkilling medication.
Taking a holiday away will only really impact a common law claim if the restrictions that you’ve previously said you suffer from do not at all match up with the activities that you engaged in on the trip.
Taking a trip away while you’re on WorkCover is perfectly acceptable.
Even a trip overseas is fine.
Just keep in mind that if you’re on weekly payments, you’ll need to obtain an unbroken period of certificates in order to continue to obtain payments.
And sometimes, the other side can make an issue of you taking a holiday away if they believe that the activities on the trip do not match up with your previously stated restrictions.