Report No. 7, 57th Parliament - Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024

Committee’s report

The committee tabled its Report No. 7, 57th Parliament - Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 on 7 June 2024.

View: Report

The Government has three months to respond to the report’s recommendations. At that time, the Government Response will be published here.

About the BILL 

On 17 April 2024, the Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing introduced the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 into the Queensland Parliament. The Bill was referred to the Education, Employment, Training and Skills Committee for detailed consideration. The committee is required to report by 7 June 2024.

View: Explanatory speech 
View: Bill 
View: Explanatory Notes 
View: Statement of compatibility 

The Bill proposes amendments to the following Acts:

Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 

The objective of the proposed amendments to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (WCR Act) is to implement legislative recommendations of the 2023 Review of the Operation of the Queensland Workers’ Compensation Scheme (2023 Review) and the Decision Impact Analysis Statement in relation to regulatory proposals to extend workers’ compensation coverage to gig workers and bailee taxi and limousine drivers (Decision IAS). Proposed amendments include, but are not limited to:

  • requiring an insurer to take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of a worker sustaining a psychiatric or psychological injury arising from a physical injury following acceptance of a claim until the worker’s entitlement to compensation ends.
  • enabling the Workers’ Compensation Regulator to set mandatory standards in prescribed circumstances by making scheme directions to support the Workers’ Compensation Regulator’s enforcement functions.
  • expanding existing code of practice provisions which are currently limited to insurer claims management to allow coverage of matters such as rehabilitation and return to work (RRTW) for employers or other persons with an obligation under the WCR Act (e.g. host employers).
  • promoting increased scrutiny of the availability of suitable duties by requiring insurers to form their own opinion about whether it is practicable for an employer to provide suitable duties and take certain steps if it is not satisfied by the employer’s evidence about this.
  • inserting a head of power to set service delivery, competency and professional standards for workplace rehabilitation providers.
  • enabling workers to request a different workplace rehabilitation provider where they are dissatisfied with the initial provider selected by the insurer.
  • requiring an insurer to ensure a RRTW plan is in place within 10 business days after the worker’s application for compensation is accepted and providing for that plan to be kept under review and modified as further information becomes available and developments arise.
  • requiring host employers to cooperate with the labour hire provider by taking all reasonable steps to support them to meet their RRTW obligations under section 228, including by extension of the provision of suitable duties.
  • including the recommended ten additional diseases taking the total number of recognised deemed diseases to 22 for firefighters.
  • requiring an insurer to commence making a default payment to the worker on the expiry of five business days after allowing the worker’s application for compensation or the expiry of the relevant excess period (whichever is later), while a decision on the calculation of the rate of payment is pending.
  • providing a framework for the issuing of compliance notices for contraventions of the WCR Act with an offence for not complying with a compliance notice.
  • prohibiting an employer from giving a benefit or causing detriment to a person if the reason is to influence an injured worker to refrain from making an application for compensation for the injury or otherwise pursuing an entitlement to compensation.
  • compelling employers to provide wage information within five business days of the insurer’s request to ensure prompt calculation of weekly compensation entitlements, with penalties for non-compliance.
  • improving the governance around scheme doctors who conduct permanent impairment assessments for the scheme.
  • implementing the Government’s preferred approach in the Decision IAS.

Industrial Relations Act 2016

The Bill proposes to amend the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (IR Act) to ensure Queensland’s industrial relations jurisdiction remains contemporaneous and aligned with recent industrial relations reforms implemented in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) by: 

  • ensuring employers have an obligation to make superannuation contributions to their employees under the Queensland Employment Standards
  • increasing the number of unpaid flexible parental leave days from 30 to 100 and providing additional flexibility for when parents can take this leave, such as late term pregnancy leave
  • increasing the claim threshold for unpaid wages claims from $50,000 to reflect the new $100,000 threshold for small claims under the FW Act.

The Bill also proposes to amend the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 to ensure compatibility with human rights and to promote contemporary operational practices.

Further information

Further information including written briefings, correspondence, response to submissions, transcripts and answers to questions taken on notice are available under the Related Publications tab.

submissions

Submissions may be viewed under the ‘View Submissions’ tab above.

PUBLIC PROCEEDINGS

The committee held a public briefing on the Bill by officers of the Department of State Development and Infrastructure on 29 April 2024.

A public hearing was held on Monday, 20 May 2024.  See timeline below for further information.

Timeline

Submissions closed:13 May 2024
Public briefing:29 April 2024 - Program - Broadcast - Transcript Proof
Public hearing:20 May 2024 - Program - Broadcast - Transcript Proof
Report tabled:7 June 2024

 

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