Workers Compensation – When You Cease Working

If you are currently receiving worker’s compensation and you’re considering resigning from your current role, you’ll need to find out your rights. While you are entitled to resign while receiving a compensation payment, you:

  • must give the correct notice period to your employer
  • can use your worker’s compensation period as your notice period.

Bear in mind that notice periods vary across roles, businesses, and industries, so make sure you refer to your registered agreement. These can include enterprise agreements, collective agreements, and individual transitional employment agreements.

You may think it’s easier to resign from your position instead of continuing with a Return to Work program, especially if there’s been a breakdown in the relationship with your employer. However, resigning from employment could be considered a breach of mutuality which may affect your ongoing eligibility to receive workers compensation payments. 

A breach of Mutuality

A breach of Mutuality involves conduct on the part of the worker that may potentially render them ineligible to receive workers’ compensation weekly payments – income maintenance. Resigning could also impact workers’ entitlements even if they think they have no choice but to resign because of their incapacities or feel they are a burden on their employer because of their injuries. There is an obligation to mitigate the loss of earnings due to incapacity by making endeavours to return to gainful employment.

In general terms, both workers and employers must maintain the employment relationship under the return-to-work legislation. As such, a decision to resign could be seen to be in breach of the mutual obligations under the legislation.

Stopping work

In our experience with worker’s compensation, it’s standard for an injured worker to return to work on light duties as part of a return-to-work program. Then, after a short amount of time working light duties, the injured party is suddenly told that no work is available given their limitations (due to the injury). They are either terminated or made to feel like quitting is the only option. This termination might be unlawful, and you should consider speaking to an experienced work injury lawyer.

Firing Employees on Workers Compensation

To paraphrase Section 84AA of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981, where a worker who suffers a work-related injury attains partial or total capacity for work, the employer will provide the worker with the position the worker previously held for 12 months from the day the worker first becomes entitled to receive weekly payments of compensation. That is if it’s reasonably practicable to give that position to the worker. If the job is not available, or if the worker cannot work in that position, a job for which the worker is qualified and that the worker can perform (comparable in status and pay to the role the worker held immediately before the injury).

What about other entitlements, like medical expenses, under worker’s compensation?

Even though resignation may discontinue a worker’s income maintenance, resigning may not impact other rights under workers compensation legislation, including:

  • the right to have reasonable medical expenses reimbursed
  • or an entitlement to receive lump-sum compensation in certain circumstances.

What can you do if your employer ceases your payments?

It’s illegal for your employer to stop paying you worker’s compensation unless you:

  • received a Notice to Worker of Intention to Discontinue or Reduce Payments
  • and your employer complies with Section 61 of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

If you think your payments have ceased illegally, contact the team here at Soul Legal. We can help you investigate your claim.

The Team at Soul Legal

If you have made a workers compensation claim, our experienced worker’s compensation lawyers in Perth, Baldivis, and Osborne Park, WA, will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

We offer a free no-obligation claim assessment, along with a no-win-no-fee service if we consider your claim worth pursuing. Our dedicated and empathetic lawyers will help you through every step of the claims process.

As leading Perth workers compensation lawyers, we’ll listen and help you through this often frustrating journey.

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