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Workers' compensation laws

Workers' compensation laws provide a framework for managing workers' compensation and rehabilitation in Queensland.

Queensland's workers' compensation legal framework includes:

  • the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003
  • the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014

Together, the Act and the Regulation establish the workers' compensation scheme for Queensland. They also set out the laws for workers' compensation and rehabilitation, and for managing insurance, compensation, rehabilitation, damages and costs.

This information will give you an overview of the law and help you understand your responsibilities and rights in the workplace.

The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 establishes the workers' compensation scheme for Queensland.

What's included?

The workers' compensation scheme provides:

  • injured workers with income support when they're not able to work
  • payment for permanent impairment or death
  • payment for reasonable treatment and other related expenses.

In some cases, the scheme provides benefits for people other than workers

The scheme outlines an employers' obligation to be covered against liability for compensation and damageseither under a WorkCover insurance policy or under a licence as a self-insurer.

WorkCover Queensland and self-insurers manage claims with a focus on rehabilitation and returning injured workers to work.

The Act also covers:

  • assessment for permanent impairment
  • independent medical assessment tribunals
  • rights of review of, and appeal against, decisions made under the Act.

The Act establishes the Workers' Compensation Regulator to regulate the workers' compensation scheme.

Who's covered?

If you're an employer in Queensland and you employ workers, you must insure them against work-related injury or illness with an accident insurance policy.

Your policy covers any workers you employ as defined in the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. It covers workers employed by your business only. Any person you might hire to provide a service from another business is covered by their own employer.

If you're a sole trader or a director or partner of your own business, or you're employed by a Trust where you're a trustee, you're not considered a worker, so your accident insurance policy does not cover you. You can take out Workplace Personal Injury Insurance to cover you if you'd like to, but it's not compulsory.

To understand who you should cover for workers' compensation – and so you can declare your wages accurately - you need to know exactly who is considered a worker.

Explore 'Who should I cover' for more information on how to work this out.

If you have any questions about who is or isn't considered a worker, call us on 1300 362 128 so we can help you.

Who's responsible?

An employer is legally responsible for having an up-to-date accident insurance policy, either as a self-insurer or under a WorkCover policy.

If you have a worker who's experienced a work-related injury or illness, you must support their recovery by assisting their rehabilitation and return to work.

Learn more about business and employer obligations.

Learn more about claims and insurance.

The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014 provides detailed information on how to meet the requirements of the workers' compensation scheme.

What's included?

The regulation sets out the legal requirements for the workers' compensation scheme including:

  • insurance
  • compensation
  • rehabilitation
  • damages
  • costs.

Workers' Compensation Regulatory Services administers the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. As part of this diverse role we:

  • regulate Queensland's workers' compensation scheme
  • facilitate legal and medical dispute resolutions
  • educate and promote Queensland's workers' compensation scheme
  • administer grants and provide rehabilitation advisory services
  • undertake workplace rehabilitation and return to work accreditation activities.

Our compliance and enforcement functions include monitoring the compliance of insurers with the Act, monitoring the performance of insurers, investigating non-compliance with the Act, and conducting and defending proceedings under the Act. These functions are delegated to and undertaken by Workers' Compensation Regulatory Services.

View the compliance and enforcement policy (PDF, 0.57 MB).

Under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, the operation of Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme must be reviewed every five years. Read the independent review reports from 2023 and 2018.

Pressuring workers into making a workers’ compensation claim through ‘claim farming’ is now banned under new laws in Queensland from 30 June 2022.

‘Claim farmers’, also known as ‘claims management services’, approach individuals to pressure them into giving their personal information, or making a compensation claim.

Claim farmers do not support injured workers. They harass people with unwanted phone calls and messages. They breach a worker’s privacy, sell personal details, and target individuals to make a profit.

These farmed claims can result in false promises, misinformation about rights and entitlements and can increase legal costs for injured workers.

What has changed?

It is now against the law to:

  • cold-call or personally approach another person without their consent and solicit or induce them to make a claim; and
  • for anyone to pay claim farmers for the details of potential claimants, or to receive payment for a claim referral.

In coming months, legal practitioners will have additional obligations to show that they have not paid a claim farmer for the claim via submitting law practice certificates at various stages of both a statutory and common law claim.

Report a claim farmer

Claim farming involves someone (the claim farmer) targeting a person and pressuring them to make a compensation claim. Claim farmers might cold call, offer help to make a claim or imply they are connected to a government agency or insurer.

Claim farmers then sell their personal information to a law practice or claims management service.

Claim farmers do not support injured workers. Farmed claims can result in false promises, misinformation about rights and entitlements and increased legal costs for injured workers.

Further information

Access a copy of the new laws and explanatory notes

The amendments build on similar measures in the Motor Accident Insurance and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 which were implemented to stop the increasing practice of claim farming compulsory third party claims.


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