New Mental Health Support Laws for Victorian Workers


Victoria has introduced new laws providing workers who suffer a mental injury in the workplace better access to payments for treatment and support, while they await the outcome of their injury assessment claim. Follow the link below to see how this impacts your organisation.

Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Provisional Payments) Bill 2020 (Vic)

This article applies to all organisations in Victoria and will likely amend the Workplace Injury, Rehabilitation and Compensation topic.

Please be advised that the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Provisional Payments) Bill 2020(Vic) (the Bill) passed the Victorian Parliament on 16 February 2021 and received Royal Assent on 23 February 2021. The Bill is due to commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation, or on 1 January 2022 if not proclaimed earlier.

Overview

The Bill implements recommendations from a Productivity Commission Inquiry into Victoria’s mental health care system, which highlighted a need for reform. The Bill amends the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (the WIRC Act) and makes consequential amendments to other legislation to provide workers who suffer a mental injury in the workplace better access to payments for treatment and support, while they await the outcome of their claim.

Injured workers will now have access to payments for all reasonable medical costs until their workers’ compensation claim for mental injury is determined.

Notification of a mental injury claim

The Bill will improve delays in injury claim assessments with new section 73A requiring an employer to notify the Victorian Workcover Authority (WorkSafe) of a mental injury claim within 3 business days of receiving the claim from the worker. Failure to notify WorkSafe within 3 business days will result in a fine of 60 penalty units (currently $9,913.20), or in the case of a company 300 penalty units (currently $49,566).

Injured workers will then have access to reasonable medical and like expenses within two business days of their employer lodging their claim with its insurer under new section 75A. Even if an injured worker’s claim fails, the provisional payments will continue for 13 weeks under new section 263I(1)(b). Subscribers should note that the employer excess for medical and like services will not apply to provisional payments.

We expect the publication of further guidelines, under new section 74(2), to specify the manner in which employers should notify WorkSafe of a mental injury claim.  


Please click here to access the full Bill.

Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au