Who is a “Worker” under the “Act”

Who is a “Worker” under the “Act”

Workers Compensation is governed by legislation under the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (the Act). If an organization does not have a policy in place to cover all of its workers then the organization is exposed to legal action – including fines and penalties – by WorkCover. Board Members and the responsible managers may be found personally liable also.

Workers Compensation is to cover workers in your organisation – the definitions are provided by WorkCover and are not simply ‘employees’ or ‘deemed employees’.

The following are the definitions of ‘Workers’ under the Act

Primary definition of worker

This covers any person who works under a contract of service or apprenticeship with you. The contract may be expressed or implied, oral or written. A large part of the workforce is covered under this part of the ‘worker’ definition, including:

  • Full-time and part-time workers
  • Casual workers
  • Seasonal and piece workers
  • Workers on salary or wages
  • Workers supervised and controlled by an employer (no substitution)
  • Workers who may be fired by an employer
  • Workers who work for only one employer
  • Workers with set hours of work.

Extended definition of worker

This covers any person who works under a contract for service. Many people who work as contractors or sub-contractors may be covered under this part of the definition, and it may cover workers who:

  • Are paid on piece rates, hourly rates or per job
  • Work for the employer on a ‘one-off’ or per job basis
  • Do not have set hours of work
  • Work for more than one employer
  • Work unsupervised
  • Pay 20 per cent prescribed payments (sub-contractor’s tax)
  • Are covered by an industrial award or agreement.

A contractor or sub-contractor may be defined as a ‘worker’ if they are engaged to do work by another person for the purpose of the other person’s trade or business, and they are paid for their personal manual labour or services. So if they are ‘voice talent’ and provide that service for you as part of your normal business i.e. recording a message for on hold, they would likely be seen as a worker.