Does WorkCover Cover Stress / Anxiety Leave?

Everyday life is full of stresses, from the mild kind to the extremely distressing kind. Like with most things in life there’s good stress, bad stress, high stress, and low stress. Although there are some jobs that are very stressful at times, there is a limit to what you are able to handle and when the stress is constant, it can be very dangerous if your stress related illness is not appropriately managed by both employee and employer.

If you have experienced or are experiencing stress related work injury which is persistent, or severe in its intensity and has caused you a recognised psychological injury, you may be able to lodge a personal injury law claim for workers' compensation.

If stress related to your workplace is left untreated it has the potential to develop into more serious mental health/mental illness and medical conditions such as depression, stress disorder and anxiety.

If it's time to talk and claim workers compensation benefits, talk to Smith's Lawyers. Get free advice direct from our experienced personal injury lawyers today.

What is work related stress?

Work-related stress is commonly described as any adverse reaction or psychological injury you may endure when the demands of your work and or workplace are beyond your capabilities to manage. Work-related stress can be categorised as follows:

Work pressure: This broad category covers stress resulting from work responsibilities, deadlines, high demand workloads, workplace promotion or performance issues, interpersonal conflicts or organisational or change management and restructures.

Workplace violence: You may suffer high stress if you have been injured due to an assault, robbery or exposure to other violent events in the workplace or office. You may also suffer undue stress if you witness these sorts of violent acts also.

Traumatic event: Witnessing, suffering or exposure to a traumatic event such as a fatal accident at your workplace.

Suicide: Any suicide or attempted suicide, regardless of outcome or cause.

Harassment and bullying: This can cover sexual and racial, assault, abuse, injuries, bullying and threats from other employees in your place of work.

Does stress leave count as sick leave?

Stress leave is when you need to take time off from your job to recover from stress-related illness or injury.

The Fair Work Ombudsman of Australia determines that stress related illness can be taken as sick leave and is treated as per normal sick leave at your company, therefore they should be treated the same by your workplace management. It is always good practice to know your own HR policies when it comes to leave, including sick and stress leave.

Can employees take workers' compensation stress leave?

If your personal health is deteriorating as a result of stress and anxiety due to your workplace, you may be eligible to make a personal injury law claim for paid stress leave under the workers compensation scheme in your state.

If you feel your workplace is not taking your mental wellbeing seriously, and your workplace has not acted upon your reports of stress, you may have the right to claim workers compensation.

If you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer, Smith’s Lawyers have you covered, if it’s time to talk – talk to us. Our personal injury law professionals will listen to you and take your particular situation, the evidence provided and will be able to determine if you have prospects of claiming compensation. You will be required to prove that your work/job/workplace has caused or contributed to your increased level of stress and provide evidence to support this when making a stress claim. Some exceptions apply so it is important to seek legal advice regarding your options.

How long can you go on work related stress leave for?

The amount of stress leave you are entitled to depends on your specific employment contract which entails how many hours of personal leave and sick leave you are allocated and can take.

According to the National Employment Standards, full-time employees are entitled to 10 days, and pro-rata for part-time employees which is calculated as 1:26 of an employee’s work hours in a year.

How do you get paid for stress leave in QLD?

First and foremost, if you have taken time off work for stress leave your employer should pay you any sick leave entitlements you have. If you don’t have enough sick leave entitlements then you may be able to negotiate using your annual leave to ensure that you can have the time to recover.

If you’re needing to pursue workers compensation claim for stress, once your claim is accepted Workcover Queensland will make payments for your stress leave as needed.

How can you make a claim for post traumatic stress disorder?

Step 1: Seek medical attention from your Doctor or Psychologist

You will be able to make a claim for stress if it has caused a psychological injury, which carries a medical diagnosis. Seeking medical help is always a good step in your recovery and you will need to keep all medical documentation to assist with making a workers' compensation claim.

Your treating medical team will be able to assess you and work out whether or not you have sustained a psychological injury due to your workplace. Your doctor or psychologist will provide a medical diagnosis and also provide you with advice about what treatment is appropriate for you. This is not just an important part for any claim, but it is also important for your wellbeing.

When you are seeing your treating doctor be sure to mention that you will be making a workers compensation claim and that they issue you with a ‘Work Capacity Certificate’ in order to determine whether you are fit for work, including a proper diagnosis with medical terminology used.

Step 2: Gathering proof of what caused your psychological injury

A stress condition can only be compensated if it is found that your workplace and the conditions are the cause of your stress. Some common psychological hazards at work may include: high job pressures and over the top workloads, poor workplace relationships, low role clarity, poor organisational management, unreasonable or impossible deadlines, exposure to trauma or violence, bullying, sexual harassment, and bad working conditions with poor support. Any of these contributing factors will need to well documented in order to support your claim for compensation. Exceptions also apply, particularly if your stress was caused by reasonable management action.

Step 3: Reporting to your workplace

You will need to notify your employer that you have sustained a psychological injury in the workplace and follow any policies in regards to reporting your injury – usually in writing is best as then you have a paper trail.

In Queensland, in order to make a claim for workers' compensation benefits you will need to provide WorkCover Queensland or the the self insurer with a Work Capacity Certificate which you obtained from your doctor. This is a very important step to take.

You should also complete a worker’s compensation claim form and submit the completed claim form to you employer as soon as practical – you have a time limit of six months from the date of the injury or when your doctor links your injury to work to bring a claim for statutory benefits.

Above all: Seek legal advice

If you have sustained a psychological injury at your workplace and it is time to talk, we are here to listen.

Making a successful workers' compensation claim is not always easy. Speaking with one of our experienced workers' compensation lawyers can help to lessen your stress with claiming and we will step you through the process every step of the way.

Common WorkCover stress leave questions

How long does a workers compensation stress leave claim take?

Every claim for workers' compensation stress leave is very different and therefor the time it will take depends on many factors. It depends how complicated your stress injuries are, how difficult it is to prove your stress is directly related to your workplace. Once you have spoken to one of our experienced lawyers and they know the relevant information for your case they will be able to give you a good indication of timeframes to process your claim.

Common issues with WorkCover stress leave claims?

Firstly, you will need to prove that you have a diagnosed medical condition which is classified as an ‘injury’. It may take several doctors and medical help to ensure your claim is viable. Common issues with gaining a diagnosis is when medical practitioners don’t correctly document your condition as needed to support a workers compensation claim.

Secondly, showing that your conditions of the job caused your stress injury can be tricky. You will need to prove through strong documentation that you are experiencing work pressures, bullying, sexual harassment or exposure to traumatic events. It is important to note that even if you can show a causal link between work and your condition, employers are protected if they can show that they took reasonable action.

Insurers are usually very reluctant to accept claims for work-related stress illnesses, but with the assistance of our experienced legal team we can assist you through what you need, you shouldn’t let your work-related stress control the rest of your life.

Are there any time limits involved with making a stress leave claim?

There are strict time limits involved in relation to workers' compensation claims, including those related to stress leave. You should seek advice from a lawyer about time limits as different time limits will apply in different circumstances.

Common types of workers compensation stress leave claims?

There are many situations that may leave you to become stressed at work and be entitled to make a claim for workers' compensation. These include: overwork, bullying, and being exposed to traumatic events in the workplace.

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or chat via live chat to talk to one of our Lawyers today.

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