Workers compensation insurance requirements for employers

Do you need workers compensation insurance?

Employers must arrange a workers' compensation policy if they employ a worker.

A worker is a natural person who, performs work or a service of any kind for another person under a contract and is in relation to the contract and employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG withholding under the 'Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth)', Schedule 1, Parts 2-5, even if the employer is not withholding tax when they should be.

If it is determined a person is an employee using Australian Tax Office (ATO) guidance (even if the employer thinks they are a contractor) then the individual should be covered for workers' compensation.

If you, as an employer, are unsure if you require a workers' compensation policy, then you should seek independent professional advice on tax and other employer obligations.

An on line tool is available on the ATO website to assist employers to find out whether your worker is an employee or contractor for tax and super purposes. If your business engages and pays workers, you should use this decision tool.

If you are a director of a company, you are only covered if your company has taken out a workers’ compensation policy with an approved insurer and your personal details and your remuneration have been disclosed to the insurer.

If the business is owned by an individual or partnership (not a company) immediate family members who live with those individuals or partners are only covered if their personal details and their remuneration are disclosed to the insurer.

If you are a labour hire business, all individuals engaged by you, must be covered regardless of whether they are an employee or contractor.

If you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance

  • You will be up for the cost of any claim which could amount to millions of dollars
  • You risk the financial viability of your business and if you are a sole trader, your personal assets
  • Penalties of up to $179,000 (for a company) for a breach of the legislation.

If I have workers compensation insurance interstate do I need insurance in the Northern Territory?

Yes, if you are employing workers specifically to work in the Northern Territory (NT) you will need to take out workers compensation insurance with an approved insurer in the NT.  The exception would be those persons that are normally employed by you in your home jurisdiction and who are sent to work in the NT on a temporary basis for not more than six months. However always check with your home jurisdiction that these workers are covered by your existing insurance.

If you are a Principal Contractor

The Northern Territory legislation provides that the principal contractor is liable for claims by workers of their sub-contractors. It also provides that the principal contractor is entitled to be indemnified by those subcontractors. To avoid being responsible for claims of workers of your sub-contractors, make sure that your sub-contractors have workers’ compensation insurance for their workers. In case of oversight it would be prudent for Principal Contractors to also maintain their own insurance and advice on this should be sought from your insurance broker or advisor.

How do I arrange insurance?

You can obtain workers compensation insurance by contacting an insurance broker.

Refer to the following list of Northern Territory approved insurers.

Contact details for approved insurance companies

Allianz Australia Insurance

Fifth Floor, TIO Centre

24 Mitchell Street, Darwin

GPO Box 4771


Phone: (08) 8982 8333

Fax: (08) 8982 8316

CGU Workers’ Compensation

Third Floor, RCG Building

47 Mitchell Street, Darwin

GPO Box 9960


Phone: (08) 8924 0300

Fax: (08) 8924 0399

GIO General Ltd

Unit 3 & 4 Berrimah Business Park

641 Stuart Highway (service road)


GPO Box 377


Phone: (08) 6188 0990

Fax: 1300 684 462

QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd

Level 2, Tourism House

43 Mitchell Street, Darwin

GPO Box 1659


Phone: (08) 8982 3877

Fax: (08) 8941 1510

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited trading as

Territory Insurance Office

Fifth Floor, TIO Centre

24 Mitchell Street, Darwin

GPO Box 770


Phone: (08) 8982 8333

Fax: (08) 8982 8316

Note: Interest is payable by an employer if the premium is not paid in full within one month of receiving the premium notice from the insurer.

Contact us

For further information please contact us on 1800 250 713, via email at or go to the NT WorkSafe website at

Workers Compensation Insurance requirements for employers (v1.4 – 29/07/2020)