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Making sense of workers' compensation - accountant / bookkeeper webinar

Why is WorkCover insurance so important for your clients and the workers they employ? How can you help your clients maximise commercial benefits from their workers' compensation policy?

This webinar will help you understand:

  • The commercial risks to your clients of being uninsured or under-insured
  • Which 'workers' need to be covered?
  • How to declare wages accurately
  • The benefits to you and your clients of having a WorkCover Queensland accident insurance policy. 

Questions and answers

Here's a summary of the answers to questions asked by attendees during this webinars.

Do employers need to include items such as gross wage, annual leave, paid leave and long service leave in their wages declaration?
  • Gross wages, annual leave, paid leave and long service leave are all assessable as wages and need to be included in the wages declaration.
  • Please refer to our wages definition manual available on Worksafe.qld.gov.au for advice on accurately declaring wages.
Can you change your estimated wages part way through the year if you know the estimate was not accurate? Sometimes it is difficult to forecast future wages.
  • You can update your policy details at any time throughout the year as your business changes.
  • We recommend you contact WorkCover as soon as possible so that we can recalculate your premium to ensure you have adequate coverage for your growing business.
  • When renewing premium, your wages declaration is based on confirmation of the prior year’s wages
  • Any difference is taken into consideration in calculating the forthcoming financial year’s premium.
We are opening our branch office in Australia and I have taken out worker's compensation insurance directly with WorkCover on the phone. As we expect to expand quickly, what is considered acceptable timing to modify our cover? I.e. Is over a month after employing a new employee too late?
  • There is no time limit on updating your policy details as your business changes.
  • We recommend you contact WorkCover as soon as you know you will be employing workers.
  • This will help us to accurately calculate your premium and ensure you have adequate coverage for your growing business.
If an employer engages third party services providers, does the employer need to ensure the third party workers (and their wages, superannuation, payroll tax etc) are covered by WorkCover and included in the employer’s wages declaration?
  • There is no obligation for an employer to ensure the policy status of any third party business that they engage
  • Whether they are covered under a WorkCover policy depends on how the third party service providers (contractors) are engaged.
  • There are online decision tools available, such as the ATO’s worker definition tool and WorkCover’s worker definition manual (both available via worksafe.qld.gov.au) which outline whether third party providers meet the definition of “worker”.
I have a client whose industry is electrician. He pays one worker and his wife, who does minimal office duties. He is paying a high risk rate for her wages where the risk is minimal. Is it better to arrange standalone insurance for his wife’s wage as it bumps up premium?
  • WorkCover categories each business based on its predominant activity, rather than the technical discipline of individual workers and they risks they are exposed to.
  • Under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, your client’s wife is still considered a worker and therefore wages still need to be declared on your client’s WorkCover policy, regardless of whether insurance is held elsewhere.
  • Even if your client established another policy for the purpose of employing administration staff only, it would still be given the same classification and rate as the principal business entity it provides support to under a provision call separate service entity.
Why does WorkCover cover staff on their journey to and from work? I have a client where the staff member’s car was hit from behind by another driver who was liable for the accident. However, the staff member was still entitled to claim under WorkCover. Why would this not be covered by a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claim against the driver of the other car?
  • Journey claims are covered under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.
  • Workers injured on a journey between their home and their place of employment, trade or training may be entitled to compensation if the journey occurs without any significant delays or deviations.
  • Journey claims may also be made by workers with an existing WorkCover claim who may be injured during travel between their home and workplace for the purposes of medical or rehabilitation treatment
  • Where workers are involved in a motor vehicle accident during the journey scenarios mentioned above, WorkCover may seek to recover claim costs from Compulsory Third Party insurance companies where a third party is at fault in the accident.
For the purposes of wages declaration, how do you treat a trustee of a company who is also an employee, receives a weekly wage and pays PAYG?
  • A WorkCover policy is held in the name of the trustee. 
  • If the trustee is an individual they are considered an individual who is not a worker under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act). 
  • If the trustee is a partnership or multiple individuals, those individuals would be deemed persons who are not workers under the Act.
  • If the trustee is a company, the directors of that company would be deemed as persons who are not workers under the Act. 
  • Payments to any person who is not deemed as a worker should not be included in any wage declaration to WorkCover.
If the company is the trustee of a trust and an individual receiving wages is the Director of the trustee company, do we need to exclude this in the wages declaration?
What is the best way to declare fringe benefits?
  • Assessable fringe benefits, for WorkCover assessment purposes, are based on the pre-grossed up taxable value of the fringe benefit provided on behalf of an individual worker.
  • If a fringe benefit is provided as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, the whole potion that is salary sacrificed (including the pre-taxable value of the item and the fringe benefit tax amount) would be deemed as assessable.
  • Please refer to our wages definition manual available on Worksafe.qld.gov.au for more information on treating fringe benefits.
Can claim notes be uploaded into WorkCover Connect? Does WorkCover have access to this information or it is confidential between the worker and employer?
  • Yes, you can upload claim notes securely into your WorkCover Connect account
  • All claims notes are privately secured files and can only be shared at the employer’s discretion
  • Your claim notes and files do not form part of WorkCover’s claim files and cannot be viewed by WorkCover staff.
How can we access this webinar and past webinars – do we need a login?
When can an employer be covered by Comcare or be self-insured?

More information

Accident insurance policy

Who should I cover?

Calculating premium

Cover provided by your policy

Last updated
12 August 2016

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