The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) aim to help you with any general questions you may have in regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) around workers compensation.  Use of the term ‘the Act’ throughout the FAQs refers to the Return to Work Act 1986.

If after reading these FAQs you still have specific personal questions, please contact NT WorkSafe, your employer or your insurer.

FAQ's for workers

  • Workers compensation would not cover your wages during self-isolation unless you are subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 and can establish that your employment was the real, proximate or effective cause of you contracting the virus.

    Self-isolation does not mean a person is suffering from an injury or disease.

    Each claim for COVID 19 would need to be considered on its individual merits, taking into account individual circumstances and evidence.

  • No. Workers compensation is only payable in connection with an accepted or deferred claim, where a worker has incapacity in respect of a work related injury or disease.

    Please discuss your leave options with your employer if you are required/instructed to stay at home due to COVID-19.

  • As with all workers compensation claims, a claim will need to be lodged with your employer.

    For workers to lodge a claim for COVID-19, the insurer will require:

    • Completed workers compensation claim form
    • A current statement of fitness for work issued by a medical practitioner that provides the medical assessment and diagnosis
    • Evidence to demonstrate that your COVID-19 exposure occurred within your work environment and that your employment was the real, proximate or effective cause of you contracting the virus.

    For liability to be accepted, an insurer would need to be satisfied that  your employment was the real, proximate or effective cause of  you contracting the virus.

  • Each claim lodged for COVID-19 will be considered on its individual merits, taking into account individual circumstances and evidence.

    If evidence is provided that your exposure to COVID-19 occurred out of or in the course of your employment, whether at or away from your place of employment, then the insurer will need to determine if your employment has “materially contributed” to your contraction of COVID-19 diagnosis.

    Note: “material contribution” is defined to mean that the employment was the real, proximate or effective cause.

    For viruses, it can be difficult to accurately determine the exact time and place of contraction. As a result, it may be difficult to determine that employment was the real, proximate or effective cause of the worker contracting the virus.

    However, where a worker's employment puts them at greater risk of contracting the virus the material contribution test may be easier to meet. For example, if the employment involves:

    • travel to an area with a known viral outbreak; or
    • activities that include engagement or interaction with people who have contracted the virus (e.g. health workers).
  • Having an accepted claim for COVID-19 does not alter a workers entitlements under the Act from any other accepted claim for an injury or disease.

    Entitlements for workers with an accepted workers compensation claim under the Act include weekly compensation for loss of wages.  You are entitled to receive your normal weekly earnings for the first 26 weeks of total or partial incapacity, less any amount you actually earn.

    If after the first 26 weeks you are still incapacitated, you will normally be paid at 75% of your loss of earning capacity. Minimum and maximum provisions may apply.

    Other workers' compensation entitlements you may be eligible for include:

    • reasonable costs for medical, surgical and rehabilitation treatment
    • hospitalisation and hospital treatment
    • pharmaceutical expense
    • travel or transportation costs to attend treatment or hospitalisation (including kilometre allowance)
    • upskilling or training for a different career, if your injury prohibits you working in your pre-injury position
    • payment for a permanent impairment.

    The above list is not exhaustive as the needs of individual workers are different.

  • All insurers and self-insurers will give careful consideration to the potential impacts of COVID-19 on claimants and will monitor the situation as it continues to evolve.

    The Act requires a worker to undertake reasonable treatment and training, or assessment, however, insurers and self-insurers have strong contingency plans in place that include making alternate arrangements to assist injured workers and taking reasonable and proportionate action in these challenging circumstances.

    It is recommended that you contact your claims manager to discuss your concerns relating to travel and attending appointments.

    The Northern Territory government has a dedicated web page for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, including travel restrictions.

  • If you have returned to full duties and are required to self-isolate, then your normal leave requirements will need to be utilised.

    Having to self-isolate due to COVID-19 would not be incapacity for work that your injury materially contributed to and would therefore not be considered as part of your existing claim.

    Workers compensation wages payments are not paid for personal illness unrelated to a workers claim.

  • If you were required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 or contracted COVID-19 and were unable to work, then the following would apply.

    If your normal working hours prior to injury were from 8:00am to 4:30pm and your ‘statement of fitness for work’ from your medical doctor certified you fit to return to work for restricted hours (for example 3 hours a day), then you would need to access your sick leave entitlements for the 3 hours that you were certified fit to work.

    For the remaining normal working hours for each day (where you have been certified unfit) you should be paid compensation at your current calculated workers compensation amount.

  • If your alternative employer is no longer able to provide you with work, then your original employer at the time of your injury must take reasonable steps to ensure that suitable employment is provided for you.

    If your original employer is unable to provide you with suitable employment, then you will continue to be paid wages until such time that suitable employment is found or an assessment of most profitable employment is conducted by the insurer after 104 weeks of your total or partial incapacity.

    For more general questions on claims, please see the Workers frequently asked questions for workers compensation.

  • NT WorkSafe is following the government advice provided on the Northern Territory Government Coronavirus website.

    Currently mediation services are continuing and when an application for mediation is received you will receive any further updates from the mediation coordinator.

    If you are following government protocols and are currently in self-isolation or have concerns for your health due to underlying conditions, please make this known in your application for mediation.

    You will also be able to discuss possible alternative arrangements with your mediator when they are appointed.

  • All insurers have provided NT WorkSafe with their business continuity plans detailing the processes and systems in place in relation to their workers compensation insurance activities.

    The plans outline that workers compensation services will be maintained and any impact to policy holders, claimants or other stakeholders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is minimised.

    If you have specific questions or concerns relating to your claim, please contact your claims manager to seek clarification.

FAQ's for employers

FAQ's for doctors, allied health and vocational rehabilitation providers