A NSWNMA analysis of the new workers compensation laws has found that they will punish partly incapacitated nurses and midwives, who cannot return to work or increase their hours even when it is completely beyond their control.
The new legislation allows insurers to deduct from weekly payments “the amount the worker is able to earn in suitable employment”.
This deduction can be made even if the nurse is unable to find suitable work or if her employer does not comply with their return to work obligations.
NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes says this will lead to grossly unfair consequences.
“The law will allow an insurer to reduce payments on the basis that an injured nurse in rural New South Wales would be able to move interstate to find employment,” he says.
The NSWNMA analysis found nurses will be disproportionately disadvantaged because, even if they have some capacity to work:
In a submission to the state government about changes to workers compensation legislation, the NSWNMA found that “insurers are now effectively arbiters of weekly payment claims”. Insurers now have the capacity to decide:
Brett Holmes said the workers compensation Commission no longer had jurisdiction over such matters. “Insurers effectively decide for themselves what they pay an injured worker in weekly benefits.”
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