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Workers compensation insurance

Need workers compensation for your employees? Find out what to look for when comparing cover.

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If an employee falls sick due to their job, or is injured while at work, workers compensation insurance will cover their lost wages, medical expenses, rehab services - and more.

If you're an employer and you don't have workers compensation insurance, you could face huge fines and even jail time. Here's what you need to know and how to get a quote.

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Workers compensation
If you are ready to speak with a consultant about different business insurance options available, simply enter your details in the form. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the different types of cover available.
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An overview of workers compensation across Australia

Choose the tab with your state to see who needs workers compensation, whether you might be exempt, and where you can find more information.

NSW
Who needs it
  • Any employer who pays annual wages over $7,500.
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers who pay $7,500 or less in annual wages, unless they have an apprentice or trainee.
  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Sole traders
Benefits
  • Weekly payments for loss of income
  • Payment for permanent impairment
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Property damage expenses
  • Family benefit following work-related death
More information

State Insurance Regulatory Authority or SafeWork NSW

VIC
Who needs it
  • Any employer who pays annual wages over $7,500.
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers who pay $7,500 or less in annual wages, unless they have an apprentice or trainee.
  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Self-employed people with no employees or apprentices.
Benefits
  • Weekly payments for loss of income
  • Payment for permanent impairment
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Superannuation contributions
  • Family benefit following work-related death
More information

WorkSafe Victoria

QLD
Who needs it
  • All employers in Queensland
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Self-employed people with no employees or apprentices.
Benefits
  • Lost wages (weekly compensation)
  • Medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Travel (treatment/claim related)
  • Permanent impairment benefit
  • Family benefit following work-related death
  • Common law damages
More information

WorkSafe Queensland

WA

Who needs it

  • All employers in Western Australia
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.

Who's doesn't need it

  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Self-employed people with no employees or apprentices.

Benefits

  • Loss of wages
  • Medical and allied health treatment expenses
  • Workplace rehabilitation expenses
  • Travel and accommodation expenses
  • Benefit for permanent impairment
  • Family benefit following work-related death
  • Common law damages

More information

WorkCoverWA

SA
Who needs it
  • Any employer in South Australia who pays $13,284 or more in wages for the 2020-21 financial year
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers who pay less than $13,284 in total for the 2020-21 financial year. (However, if your employee is injured at work, you must report the injury, register and pay the minimum premium.)
  • Self employed people with no employees or apprentices
  • Self-insured employers, usually very large companies
Benefits
  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Return to work services
  • Permanent and partial impairment benefits
  • Common law claims
  • Family benefits following workplace death
More information

ReturnToWorkSA

TAS
Who needs it
  • All employers in Tasmania
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Self-employed people with no employees or apprentices.
Benefits
  • Loss of wages
  • Medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Nursing and household services
  • Permanent impairment benefit
  • Family benefits following work-related death
  • Common law damages
More information

WorkSafe Tasmania

ACT
Who needs it
  • All employers in the Australian Capital Territory
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Self-employed people with no employees or apprentices.
Benefits
  • Lost wages (weekly compensation)
  • Medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Total or partial incapacity benefits
  • Permanent injury benefits
  • Travel (treatment/claim related)
  • Benefit permanent impairment
  • Death benefits and funeral costs
More information

WorkSafe ACT

NT
Who needs it
  • All employers in the Northern Territory
  • Employees can be full time, part time or casual and the agreement can be written or oral.
  • This includes apprenticeships or traineeships.
Who's doesn't need it
  • Employers that have registered as self-insured, usually very large companies.
  • Self-employed people with no employees or apprentices.
Benefits
  • Lost wages (weekly compensation)
  • Medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Return to work expenses
  • Travel and accommodation expenses
  • Family benefits following work-related death
More information

NT WorkSafe

How much does workers compensation insurance cost?

StateHow insurers work out the cost
NSW

For 2020-2021, the average premium rate is 1.4%.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 1.4% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate. Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history.

VIC

For 2020-2021, the average premium rate is 1.272%.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 1.272% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate. Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history.

QLD

For 2020-2021, the average premium rate is 1.2%.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 1.2% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate. Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history.

WA

For 2020-2021, the average recommended premium rate is 1.638%.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 1.638% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate.

Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history and even which insurer you choose. It's particularly important to compare prices if you live in WA.

TAS

For 2020-2021, the average recommended premium rate is 2.22% of wages.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 2.22% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate.

Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history and even which insurer you choose. It's particularly important to compare prices if you live in TAS.

ACT

For 2020-2021, the average receomended premium rate is 2.33%.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 2.33% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate.

Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history and even which insurer you choose. It's particularly important to compare prices if you live in ACT.

SA

For 2020-2021, the average receomended premium rate is 1.2%.

This means you multiply the amount you spend on remuneration by 1.2% to get a rough idea of your workers comp premium.

However, the premium rate can vary depending on industry. The more dangerous the industry, the higher the premium rate. Your premium may also be impacted by your claims history.

NT

Each business is assigned a rate relative to the risk of their industry. Your gross annual spend on wages is then multiplied by this rate to get your premium.

However, your premium may also be impacted by claims history or even which insurer you choose.

What's covered by workers compensation?

Workers compensation claims are decided on a case by case basis and rules vary between states. Here's a general overview.

What's covered More info
  • On-site breaks

Employees are generally covered if they're on-site

  • Off-site breaks

Employees are covered in NSW, VIC, QLD and NT.
They're usually not covered in TAS though, although there are some exceptions. They're not covered at all in SA.

  • Commuting

The ACT covers commutes without restrictions.
QLD and NT are generally covered but with limits.
NSW and TAS are generally not covered, though there are exceptions.
WA, SA and VIC employees are rarely covered at all.

  • Illnesses and injuries outside of work

Employees can still make claims for illnesses and injuries that happen outside the workplace, but they'll have to prove their employment was a main contributing factor.

  • Work-related travel

Employees are covered while undertaking work-related travel. Conditions are stricter in VIC than in other states.

What isn't covered by workers comp?

Workers compensation won't cover everything. Here are a few things that are always excluded, regardless of which state you're in.

ExclusionMore info
  • Serious and wilful misconduct

This includes being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, committing a crime. However, death and serious injury benefits may still apply

  • Self-inflicted injuries

Employees can't make a claim for death, injury or illness that was self-inflicted.

  • False information

If the employee lied about pre-existing conditions, they may be excluded from making a related claim.

Frequently asked questions

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