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Cover for interstate and overseas workers

As an employer, you might have workers who work for you in more than one state or territory or even overseas.

What does this mean for me?

If your worker works for you in Queensland as well as other states, you only need to insure them in one state or territory. This will be what’s called their ‘state of connection’. It might mean you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance in Queensland to cover your Queensland-based employees as well as workers’ compensation insurance in another state.

If your worker works in Queensland as well as overseas, you may or may not have to insure them, depending on the situation. There are common tests you can apply to help decide.

It should be noted that WorkCover Queensland may deem them a worker and entitled to compensation, even if you haven’t included their wages in your wage declaration.

Explore the sections below to help work out the right choice for your business and workers. You can also find details for the Workers’ Compensation Authorities in other Australian states and territories.

Your worker might work for you in Queensland and one other state, across multiple states, or in a single state other than Queensland. To work out which state or territory you need to insure your worker in, you need to identify their ‘state of connection’.

How do I do this?

The test to work out your worker’s state of connection is made up of five simple steps or questions to apply. You should always start with the first step (Step 1). You only need to apply the next steps if the one before doesn’t give you a clear answer.

Step 1. Where does my worker usually work?

If your worker usually works in one state or territory, that is their state of connection. The following should be considered when answering this question:

  • The terms of your worker’s employment contract
  • Where your worker actually does their work
  • Your worker’s employment history with you (previous 12 mths) and future arrangements
  • Where your worker regularly works.

Temporary working arrangements of six months or less don’t need to be considered.

If this step doesn’t give you a clear answer, move to Step 2.

Step 2. Where is my worker usually based?

If your worker’s state of connection is not clear by asking the question ‘where does my worker usually work’, you may be able to identify it by working out where they are ‘based’.

If there is a place where any of the below apply, it is considered to be your worker’s base. The state or territory of your worker’s base is your worker’s state of connection.

  • Your worker is provided with a place they’re expected to operate from.
  • Your worker gets their regular day-to-day instructions from one main place.
  • Your worker attends a place to collect materials for their work.
  • Your worker reports to a place for administrative or other job-related issues.

If none of the above give you a clear answer, move to Step 3.

Step 3. Where is my principal place of business?

If you can’t get a clear answer from Steps 1 or 2 you may be able to use the location of your principal (main) place of business to decide your worker’s state of connection.

If your main place of business in Australia is in a single place, then that state or territory will be your worker’s state of connection.

You should think about the following:

  • The main place where you conduct most of your business in Australia
  • The address registered on the Australian Business Register in connection with your Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • If you don’t have an ABN, the state registered on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's National Names Index, as being where you operate your business or trade
  • If you’re not registered for an ABN or on the National Names Index, your business mailing address.

If this step doesn’t give you a clear answer:

  • Consider Step 4 if your worker's state of connection is not decided by steps 1, 2 or 3 and your worker works on a ship
  • Consider Step 5 for all other workers.

Step 4.  Steps 1, 2 or 3 don’t determine state of connection and my worker works on a ship

If you can’t decide your worker’s state of connection with steps 1, 2 or 3 and your worker works on a ship, their state of connection will be the state or territory where the ship is registered.

If this step still does not provide a clear answer, move to Step 5.

Step 5. State of connection can’t be identified with Steps 1-4 and my worker has been injured

If your worker has been injured but you haven’t been able to work out their state of connection by working through the steps above, their state of connection will be the state in which the injury happened. The only time this won’t be the case is if they’re entitled to compensation for the same injury under the laws of a place outside Australia.

When considering the above tests, consideration will be given to the worker’s history with the employer and the ongoing intention of the worker and the employer.

To decide whether or not you have to insure a worker who works for you in Queensland and/or overseas, you need to work out their ‘principal place of employment’.

If your worker’s principal (main) place of employment is in Queensland, you need workers’ compensation insurance for that worker. If it’s not, you don’t need to cover them.

The principal place of employment is determined under Section 115 of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and is worked out slightly differently to cross-border arrangements.

How do I work it out?

The test to work out your worker’s principal place of employment is made up of two simple steps or questions to apply. You should always start with the first step (Step 1). You only need to apply the next step if Step 1 doesn’t give you a clear answer.

Step 1. Where does my worker usually work?

If your worker usually works in one country, that country is their principal place of employment. The following should be considered when answering this question:

  • The terms of your worker’s employment contract
  • Where your worker actually does their work
  • Your worker’s employment history with you and future arrangements
  • Where your worker regularly works. Your worker's principal place of employment is not simply the country where your worker spends the majority of their working time.

Temporary working arrangements of six months or less don’t need to be considered.

If this step doesn’t give you a clear answer, move to Step 2.

Step 2. Where is my principal place of business?

If you can’t get a clear answer from Step 1, you can use the location of your principal (main) place of business to decide your worker’s principal place of employment.

If your main place of business is located a single place in Australia, then that is your worker’s principal place of employment.

You should think about the following:

  • The main place where you conduct most of your business in Australia
  • The address registered on the Australian Business Register in connection with your Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • If you don’t have an ABN, the state registered on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's National Names Index, as being where you operate your business or trade
  • If you’re not registered for an ABN or on the National Names Index, your business mailing address.

When considering the above tests, consideration will be given to the worker’s history with the employer and the ongoing intention of the worker and the employer.

Below you’ll find the websites for the workers’ compensation authorities in other Australian states and territories.

Victorian WorkCover Authority

Legislation: Section 80 of the Accident Compensation Act 1985

WorkCover New South Wales

Legislation: Section 9AA of the Workers Compensation Act 1987

SA WorkCover Corporation

Legislation: Section 6 of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986

NT WorkSafe

Legislation: Section 53AA of the Work Health Act

WorkSafe ACT

Legislation: Section 36B of the Workers Compensation Act 1951

WorkCover Tasmania

Legislation: Section 31A of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

WorkCover Western Australia

Legislation: Section 20 of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981