06 January 2023

If you have been injured on a worksite, it is sometimes difficult to determine who it is you must lodge your workers compensation claim with. 

Employers generally need to provide workers compensation for workers and ‘deemed workers’, but not for ‘contractors’, and ‘subcontractors’.

To determine who is ultimately responsible for lodging the workers compensation claim, it must first be determined whether you are an ‘employee’, a ‘deemed worker’, a ‘subcontractor’ or a ‘contractor’.  However, to complicate things further, some ‘contractors’ and ‘subcontractors’ may be considered ‘deemed workers’ for compensation and insurance purposes. 

There are different ways to assist you in determining whether you are considered a ‘deemed worker’.  The first can be found in a comprehensive list in Schedule 1 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998.

The other is to use a tool provided by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (also known as SIRA).  They recommend that the WorkerStatus tool is used to assist in determining whether you are a deemed worker, contractor, or employee.

Businesses are required to cover employees and ‘deemed workers’ for workers compensation.  However, self-employed or workers who are engaged as contractors are generally expected to cover their own workers compensation.

Each workers compensation claim can only be determined by the facts surrounding each specific workplace.  Some factors which may assist you in determining whether you are covered under the employers workers compensation are:

  • Do you wear a uniform?
  • Do you use your own tools?
  • Are you able to subcontract your work to another person/company?
  • Do you work only for the deemed employer?
  • Do you have a higher level of control in the way you perform your work (ie make the necessary decisions in the work performed for the employer)? 
  • Were you engaged for a specific task instead of working a standard set of hours?
  • Did you quote for the specific task, or will you be required to invoice for the hours worked?

Workers Compensation insurance may not be required if you, as a subcontractor, work for yourself and do not have any employees.  However, there are times when it is needed.  One of these instances is where a contract specifies you are required to have the insurance in place.   In this instance, if you lodge a claim for workers compensation and the insurer denies your claim because of this reason, you may be considered a deemed worker and can claim workers compensation benefits from the employer.

If you are unsure whether you are to be covered under the principal contractors workers compensation insurance, you may contact us to discuss the injuries you have sustained and the circumstances surrounding how they were obtained. 

If you would like to have a chat, free of charge, about your possible entitlements, contact Law Advice Compensation Lawyers.  We can be contacted either via our website chat, by email, by phone or using our Contact Us form on the website.  We would be happy to investigate your workers compensation rights.

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