Tindall Gask Bentley’s team of experienced lawyers that can provide comprehensive assistance to Commonwealth employees in relation to their employment and workplace injuries.
We currently assist a variety of Commonwealth employees, including workers employed by Telstra, Optus, Australia Post, the Department of Defence, Australian Customs and various other Commonwealth departments.
There are a number of circumstances in which Commonwealth employees may need representation that relates specifically to their employment, this includes work related injury or employment disputes (such as redundancy or contract issues).
Commonwealth Employee Injury Claim
Commonwealth employees injured at work can claim compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, 1988 (SRCA).
If you have been injured at work you may be covered for a wide variety of physical injuries, therefore it is important to seek advice regarding any injury you receive in the workplace. You are also covered for numerous diseases including asbestos diseases, respiratory conditions, heart problems, strokes, skin disorders and others. You are also able to claim for psychiatric/psychological conditions.
Importantly, you may still be covered even if your injury did not occur directly at your place of employment. Your injury could be deemed as occurring at work if it happened:
- During lunch or other authorised breaks
- Whilst travelling to or from work
- At an approved work function
- Whilst traveling to a work function
- Whilst participating in an approved sporting activity
- During a work training session
If you have been injured at work you may have a claim for:
- Lost wages (ie base wage, overtime, allowances, penalties, etc).
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Household assistance costs
- Lump sum payment for permanent disability (which is currently not taxed)
- Redemption of lost wages by way of a lump sum payment
- Dependancy claim for a surviving financially dependant spouse.
Am I entitled to a lump sum payment?
If you sustain a permanent disability as a result of a work injury you may be entitled to a lump sum payment. Assessing a lump sum payment can be complicated. It is usually only paid once, so it is therefore important to seek legal advice about this claim. It is also a payment that is not taxed. As an example, a 10 percent assessment for permanent impairment equates to a lump sum payment of approximately $30,000.
Disputing a claim to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
If you wish to dispute a decision made by Comcare or another compensating authority, you are entitled to do so by lodging a dispute with the AAT. This can be a complex process and often involves technical legal points. Accordingly, it is important to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in this area of work. We regularly represent Commonwealth employees at the AAT.
Claims under the Legislation are complicated and time limits do apply. If you do not comply with the time limits your entitlements may be adversely affected.
Commonwealth Employee Unfair Dismissal/Redundancy Claim
TGB is able to provide specific advice to Commonwealth employees from all Commonwealth departments.
If you have been made redundant or believe you have been unfairly dismissed you may be able to make a claim.
There are a number of factors which make a dismissal unfair. If you have been terminated because of your conduct, you should always receive details of any allegations against you and should always have an opportunity to put your side of the story to those allegations. Except in situations involving very serious misconduct, you should always receive a clear warning explaining that if you continue with a particular course of conduct then your employment will be terminated. If your employment has been recently terminated and the dismissal was unfair, you may be entitled to bring proceedings before the Fair Work Commission. You are entitled to claim for compensation. You can also apply to be reinstated to your old position or to be placed in another position with your employer.
If you have been terminated for redundancy, there are a broad range of factors to consider and we therefore recommend that you obtain advice on your employer’s selection criteria for redundancy and the level of any redundancy payment.
Generally the amount payable will depend on the numbers of years you have worked with the organisation and it is important to make sure that your redundancy payment amount is correct.
If the amount paid was incorrect or the redundancy does not meet the required standard for a genuine redundancy than you may be able to make an unfair dismissal application. An experienced workplace lawyer will be able to guide you through these steps to ensure you are not the victim of an unfair redundancy.