Queensland’s workers compensation system works like this:
Of course, there can be situations where the possibility of returning to the workplace where you were injured is extremely stressful.
Your income is your livelihood, and you don’t want to risk losing it either partially or altogether, especially while you are still trying to recover.
Here, we explain some of the key considerations required if you are thinking about resigning.
Be careful that resigning does not take away your right to further payment. Compensation requires proof of lost wages, so if you quit and your boss says you could have kept earning an income with them, this might negatively affect your rights to a compensation income.
You and your employer have an obligation of 'mutuality'. That is, to show that you are committed to your employment relationship.
Examples: So, take the example where your employer says, after you resigned, that you could have returned to suitable duties that they had in mind for you. In that case, it will be more difficult to prove lost wages.
Another example is if you are receiving compensation for lost wages and your reason for resignation does not relate to your injury or incapacity, you might also risk losing your right to payments.
You may still be able to claim other entitlements such as medical expenses or lump sum payments.
If you are going to resign and you have obtained legal advice around this, make sure you get your notice period right.
Otherwise, you may cheat yourself of other entitlements such as any annual leave you might have accrued before the worker's compensation kicked in.
Be aware that if you quit the job that you were doing when you sustained the injury, and go to one that pays less than your average weekly payment, you may not be able to claim the shortfall with WorkCover. There are exceptions to this - if you move on to other employment as a result of ongoing injuries from the original injury, for example.
There is also the possibility of claiming 'top up' income where you demonstrate you are ready to return to your first employer after being on a lesser wage with a second employer. This will also depend on the first (pre-injury) employer’s willingness for you to return.
You must, under Queensland legislation, inform WorkCover if you return to any type of work – that could be paid, unpaid, self-employment or working for a mate. You otherwise risk penalties or suspended payments.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
Will making a work compensation claim reduce your future employment prospects? Check your rights here. Free expert information.
Tips on returning to work after being on WorkCover / leave due to an injury in Queensland