APA (NSW) Member Update Workers Compensation – Who’s a “Paramedic”
Friday 7 August 2015
You may recall that in 2012, the Government brought in changes to the Workers Compensation Act (NSW) 1987 which significantly reduced entitlements to workers. It was determined at the time that emergency workers which included Paramedics, Police Officers and Firefighters would be exempt from the changes and hence would continue to be covered under the previous, more generous, workers compensation entitlements. However, what resulted from this decision is legal uncertainty as to when exactly a worker is considered a “paramedic” for workers compensation purposes. Soon after the legislation changed in 2012, the NSW Ambulance’s workers compensation insurer started to decline claims, including some that were previously accepted, on the basis that at the time the worker was injured, the worker was not carrying out “frontline” paramedic duties and therefore not considered a “paramedic” for the purposes of workers compensation (ie. not exempt from the new legislation).
This position was taken by the insurer despite the fact that these workers were being remunerated as a paramedic under the Award and despite their position requiring them to maintain paramedic qualifications. Eg. Paramedic Educators, Paramedics working in the Control Centre or paramedics that are on secondment but maintain substantive paramedic position. We are pleased to inform you that APA (NSW) and its legal team has successfully achieved a win for one of its members’ who was injured whilst on secondment. The Industrial Relations Commission handed down its decision this week and agreed that the member is considered a paramedic at the time she was carrying out the secondment (despite not carrying out frontline paramedic work) and is therefore exempt from the 2012 workers comp changes. A copy of the decision can be found here.
Whilst there is a 21 day appeal period, this decision is a big win for paramedics and we look forward to the impact this case may have as a legal precedent and on future insurance decisions.
APA (NSW) Executive
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