Workers' rights

  • Recommendations arising from Stakeholder Reference Group meetings 1, 2 and 3

    28th Nov 2023
  • Proposed new WA workers comp laws will severely impact the rights of injured workers

    30th Jun 2023

    Lawyers representing injured workers say that the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Bill 2023 (WA) currently before Parliament is flawed, ambiguous and will reduce the rights of injured workers in Western Australia.

  • Most common breaches of WCRA

    23rd Mar 2023

    ‘Much has been written about the ‘dodgy’ workers who have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar, but rarely do we hear about the misdeeds of the unscrupulous employers who are prepared to go to any length to protect profitability at the expense of employee welfare ... here are just a few of the tricks commonly used by unscrupulous corporations and employers,’ writes Travis Schultz, Managing Partner, Travis Schultz & Partners

  • Stealthy approach to stripping rights from injured workers is deplorable

    2nd Jun 2022

    A proposal to make a fundamental change to the SA Return to Work Act, which will affect thousands of workers and their entitlements, is being snuck into Parliament today without consultation, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Qld Government plans to strip rights from dying workers

    12th May 2022

    Changes proposed to Queensland’s workers’ compensation laws dramatically and unnecessarily affect the rights of dying people, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Can your boss use electronic surveillance to monitor you when you’re working from home?

    14th Apr 2022

    The Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW) rules out undue intrusions and covert surveillance, but surveillance technologies are evolving faster than privacy laws – and booming. As many of us continue to work from home in the wake of the pandemic, Anneka Frayne ponders the issues.

  • Work safety poster leads to $200,000 damages award

    21st Oct 2021

    Emily Wittig from Stacks Collins Thompson examines a recent case where a female employee was awarded $200,000 in damages by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The Court agreed that a work safety poster featuring the words ‘Feel Great – Lubricate!’ over a photo of the employee resulted in the employee feeling ‘exposed, humiliated and ashamed’ and led to her resignation.

  • Former Uber Eats courier paid $400,000 in out-of-court settlement

    16th Sep 2021

    Is a gig economy worker an employee or independent contractor? The line that separates the two employment classifications is becoming increasingly blurred. Emily Wittig from Stacks Collins Thompson discusses the case of Amita Gupta, an Uber Eats courier, who brought an unfair dismissal case before the Fair Work Commission which was eventually settled by Uber Eats. Had the case proceeded and succeeded, it could have set a legal precedent that couriers are employees rather than contractors.

  • Horseplay in the workplace leads to damages

    6th May 2021

    Emily Wittig from Stacks Collins Thompson discusses a case where a ‘bit of fun’ at work goes too far and leads to serious injury. She highlights the duty of care owed by employers to provide competent supervisors and a safe workplace, and the significant dangers of injury and death when this duty is breached.

  • Continuing grim reality of work-related fatalities

    14th Jan 2021

    A total of 3,751 workers were killed in work-related incidents between 2003 and 2018. The number of non-fatal work-related injuries in Australia is also extreme.

    Justin Stack observes that changes in legislation have made it more difficult for injured workers to obtain adequate compensation and he discusses avenues through which NSW workers can challenge an insurer’s decision or dispute the amount of compensation they have been awarded.

  • Should employers go to gaol for underpayment of wages?

    17th Sep 2020

    Many instances of systemic underpayment of wages originate from the reckless indifference of employers towards correct pay practices.

    While supporters of tougher laws believe that criminal penalties would act as a better deterrent to employers than the issuing of fines, Geoff Baldwin reminds us that there is insufficient evidence of the correlation between harsh penalties and reduced offending. He suggests that putting additional resources into compliance auditing may be more successful in reducing wage underpayment.

  • New workplace manslaughter laws in Victoria

    2nd Jul 2020

    Sam Vasaiwalla explains the new Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Act 2019 (Vic), effective from 1 July 2020. This new law makes workplace manslaughter a criminal offence in Victoria, with penalties of up to $16.5 million and 20 years’ jail.

  • ACCS consultation welcome to better assist injured Victorian workers

    18th Oct 2019

    Consultation to improve processes for injured workers, including through the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS), has been welcomed by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) in Victoria.

  • Are there dual entitlements to annual leave and weekly workers compensation payments?

    3rd Oct 2019

    Ashleigh Kemp reminds practitioners about the need to carefully review the annual leave entitlements of clients on weekly workers' compensation payments following the Full Federal Court decision in Anglican Care v NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association [2015] FCAFC 81. She also provides some practical tips about calculating these, and considers other ways in which the dual entitlement can affect clients. 

  • The high cost of preventable farm accidents

    4th Jul 2019

    Justin Stack details some recent cases involving preventable farm accidents and emphasises the importance of farm owners and workers understanding their workplace safety rights and obligations.

  • Benzene: The colourless killer

    22nd Nov 2018

    Luke Perilli details the dangers and effects of exposure to benzene, described by the World Health Organisation as ‘a major public health concern’.

  • Work deaths in Australia top 92 for 2018

    13th Sep 2018

    An exploration of the worker fatality and serious workplace injury rates for 2018 so far.

  • The return of Silicosis

    2nd Aug 2018

    Luke Perilli discusses Silicosis, the incurable lung disease increasing in prominence among Australian stonemasons, and the duty of employers to minimise the risk of their workers contracting the disease. 

  • Workers’ compensation system improves with access to free legal help

    12th Jul 2018

    Justin Stack explores the proposed changes to the NSW workers' compensation scheme, changes that will improve access to legal representation for injured workers.

  • Sexual harassment in the legal profession

    5th Apr 2018

    Adrienne Morton explores the prevalence of sexual harassment in the legal profession, and the ways in which it could and should be addressed going forward.

  • A plaintiff need not be perfect

    22nd Mar 2018

    The workers’ compensation system is a minefield for plaintiffs. Having to state and re-state your injuries, being interrogated about your pain, and having to convince people about and justify your restrictions, leaves the ground fertile for credibility issues.

  • Lawyers welcome new industrial manslaughter laws in Queensland

    13th Oct 2017

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed tough new workplace safety laws passed by Queensland’s State Parliament last night.

  • Lawyers welcome amendments to introduce tougher penalties and offences

    23rd Aug 2017

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today welcomed legislative changes introduced into the Queensland Parliament to strengthen the State’s work, health and safety laws, including tougher penalties and offences for workplace fatalities.

  • Privatising workers comp puts SA workers’ rights up for sale

    23rd Feb 2017

    Handing control of the South Australian workers compensation scheme to private insurers would prioritise insurer profits ahead of injured workers’ rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lack of unanimity in Senate report highlights Comcare’s faults

    19th Jun 2015

    Injured Australian workers could see their rights and workplace safety severely cut under government plans to slash the federal workers compensation scheme, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • ICA workers comp report looks after insurers, hurts injured workers

    15th Jun 2015

    State and Territory Governments should reject outright a self-interested report that seeks to hand operational control of workers’ compensation schemes to private insurers and cut the right to compensation of injured workers in every jurisdiction, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Court decision shows Comcare’s failure to regulate workplace safety

    21st May 2015

    A recent court decision on workplace safety against a major Comcare licensee is evidence that the federal scheme is failing its core responsibility of regulating workplace safety, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Comcare OK for workers but not good enough for politicians

    13th May 2015

    The Federal Government has admitted the Comcare scheme is not up to scratch by quietly funding its own parliamentary injury compensation scheme in last night’s Budget, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Qld reforms to improve workplace safety welcome

    23rd Apr 2015

    Industrial relations reforms announced today by the Palaszczuk Government will play an important role in helping to strengthen and improve safety scrutiny and oversight on Queensland work sites, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Senator Abetz’s attacks on injured workers do nothing to fix Comcare

    15th Apr 2015

    Comments from Federal Public Service Minister Eric Abetz that seek to minimise the impacts of proposed changes to the nation’s Comcare scheme are not only dishonest, they also serve as a further hit on injured workers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Workers compensation scheme key to protecting our ageing workforce

    7th Apr 2015

    The expectation that Australians will work past the age of 65 needs to be framed in a long-term vision that finds a sustainable balance between workers compensation, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Centrelink, or risk breaking the system, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Proposed changes to Comcare a further attack on injured workers

    25th Mar 2015

    Amendments introduced today by the Federal Government to the national workers’ compensation scheme are a further attack on the rights of the nation’s injured workers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • ACT govt pulling out of Comcare is a step in the right direction

    26th Feb 2015

    The ACT government is to be commended for pulling its support from the fundamentally flawed Comcare workplace insurance scheme, demonstrating strong leadership and supporting workers’ rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • The bitter taste of WorkCover SA

    17th Jul 2014

    Renowned nationally for its battered financial status, inadequate benefits to workers and long delays, it’s time to consider a new scheme for injured workers in South Australia, writes Patrick Boylen, SA President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. 

  • South Australian conference highlights workers comp

    20th Jun 2014

    The ALA's South Australian conference will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel, Adelaide on Friday. Featuring Deputy Premier John Rau as keynote, Mr Rau will address the failings of South Australia's workers compensation scheme. The ALA continues to call for a fundamental overhaul of the scheme.

  • Injured workers still burnt by compo changes in NSW

    12th Jun 2014

    The stark reality is that the 2012 amendments to the NSW Workers' Compensation Scheme have slashed injured workers' entitlements and their ability to make an early, safe and durable return to work, writes Anthony Scarcella, NSW Director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

  • Opening Comcare gates will trade off workers' rights

    11th Jun 2014

    The Federal government is planning to trade off the rights of Australian workers via opening the gates to its Comcare scheme, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today

  • ALA submits on NSW workers compensation changes

    3rd Jun 2014

    This week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance NSW Committee provided our submission to the Centre for International Economics in its statutory review of the 2012 NSW workers compensation legislative amendments on behalf of the Office of Finance and Services.

  • Drop in premiums shows Qld govt's WorkCover changes were unnecessary

    20th May 2014

    Today’s announcement of a drop in WorkCover premiums for employers proves the Newman Government’s changes to the workers’ compensation scheme, rammed through Parliament last year, were unnecessary, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • A Q&A on QLD workers compensation changes

    8th May 2014

    ALA QLD President Michelle James answers questions about Queensland's workers compensation scheme, which removed workers' rights following amendments passed into law this year.

  • Ageing workforce at risk of injury

    6th May 2014

    Any discussion about working life ought to include workplace injury and its consequences, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • What 'cutting red tape' will do to injured workers nationwide

    19th Mar 2014

    The Federal government’s proposal to allow employers to shift workers into the Comcare system will take away vital support for injured workers and dilute health and safety protections nationwide, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • NSW Workers Compensation Scheme slashing injured workers rights - ALA

    31st Oct 2013

    Injured workers rights are being slashed by Premier Barry O’Farrell, which is the only reason he and the Finance Minister were able to announce a NSW Compensation Scheme surplus, yesterday, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • New poll shows Qld Premier's seat at risk if WorkCover laws pass

    17th Oct 2013

    A new poll shows the Premier’s own seat is at risk if the Queensland Government passes laws today to reduce injured employees’ rights for workplace injuries.

  • ALA to discuss Qld premier at risk of losing his seat

    17th Oct 2013

    Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Rod Hodgson will be speaking on new polling that shows the Premier is at risk of losing the seat of Ashgrove as a result of the State Government’s proposed changes to Queensland’s WorkCover scheme today (Thursday) morning at Parliament House.

  • WorkCover changes hurt all Queenslanders

    15th Oct 2013

    Today's changes to Queensland's WorkCover scheme announced by the Attorney-General will hurt employers, employees and taxpayers and have been announced without any basis in fact.

  • Queensland still has nation's best WorkCover scheme

    14th Oct 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed the release of WorkCover Queensland’s latest Annual Report, which confirms the scheme remains the best in the country and is both financially stable and fair for employers, employees and taxpayers.

  • Queensland workers compensation poll

    13th Oct 2013

    Click here to view the workers compensation poll results following a survey of 1,258 Queensland residents on 10 October 2013.

  • Queenslanders reject Government's changes to workers compensation

    13th Oct 2013

    As State Cabinet prepares to consider drastic changes to Queensland's workers compensation scheme, a new poll has shown that Queenslanders overwhelmingly support the State's current system.

  • Planned SA WorkCover overhaul benefits injured

    28th Jun 2013

    “Industrial Relations Minister John Rau’s announcement today to pay out long-term SA WorkCover injury victims is likely to facilitate better health outcomes for such workers and is a long overdue development,” Australian Lawyers Alliance SA President, Patrick Boylen, said.

  • NSW govt errors show more financial capability to help injured workers

    8th Nov 2012

    A manufactured deficit of $1billion on NSW Government’s books, which arose because of 37 accounting errors of more than $20 million each, looks like having indirectly played a role in winding back the financial entitlements of injured workers, Australian Lawyers Alliance NSW Committee member, Cliff Baker, writes.

  • NSW Workers Comp decision shows new laws are retrospective

    24th Oct 2012

    Contrary to NSW Government assertions that recently introduced austere workers compensation laws would not be retrospective, a matter decided in the NSW Workers Compensation Commission yesterday, shows that, in fact, they will.

  • A second rate legal review service adds insult to injury - ALA

    26th Sep 2012

    Injured workers should remain unexcited by the NSW Government’s announcement today of a new 'free legal review service' for some work injury disputes.

  • Inconsistency in NSW is draining disability rights - ALA

    30th Aug 2012

    After much negotiation, NSW has announced it will provide an extra $35 million to support the rollout of a National Disability Insurance Scheme in the Hunter region to help 10,000 people with significant disability.

  • ALA tells inquiry Newstart puts injured workers in hardship

    27th Aug 2012

    Concerns about Newstart Allowance payment inadequacy and the transition from alternative payments such of WorkCover has prompted the Australian Lawyers Alliance to submit to and appear before an Inquiry on the subject today.

  • NSW WorkCover changes - Expect mental health crisis says ALA

    4th Jul 2012

    “Traumatised families struggling to cope with horrific deaths of loved ones are being forced into financial hardship following the O’Farrell Government’s cuts to WorkCover compensation last month,” the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • O'Farrell Government adds insult to injury with WorkCover changes

    21st Jun 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance has expressed its disbelief that the O’Farrell Government has pushed new severe workers compensation measures through the NSW Legislative Council yesterday, just five days after it tabled its report.

  • WorkCover advertises its own mismanagement

    28th May 2012

    WorkCover has released a list of what it describes as some of the worst cases of excessive claims that have ever been referred to it.

  • Victorian WorkCover funds continue to be plundered - ALA

    4th May 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is concerned that a three percent reduction in Victorian Workers Compensation premiums, while enticing superficially, hides a very black cloud that is floating over the rights of seriously injured workers.

  • Lawyers meet minister to discuss proposed WorkCover changes

    28th Mar 2012

    Representatives of the legal profession including, The Australian Lawyers Alliance, The NSW Bar Association and The NSW Law Society, met with Finance Minister, Greg Pearce, today, to discuss proposed changes to Workers Compensation and Motor Accident compensation schemes.

  • Removal of Victorian WorkCover funds threatens injured workers - ALA

    10th Feb 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is concerned that a Victorian government plan to redirect $471.5 million in WorkCover funds away from injured worker compensation and occupational health and safety will result in more injured workers in Victoria being left without adequate care and support.