In Workplace Injuries
What happens to WorkCover entitlements if I resign from my job?

When a worker suffers a workplace injury, this can often put a strain on their ability to perform their job as they did before the injury. This could be due to:

  • physical restraints with an inability to perform certain tasks;
  • a breakdown in the relationship with their employer and/or coworkers; or
  • another reason.

As this strain continues, the injured worker may consider resigning. However, injured workers need to be aware of the affects resigning from their job may have on their WorkCover entitlements.

What happens to WorkCover entitlements if a worker resigns?

If an injured worker resigns from their job, it can affect their entitlements to WorkCover weekly payments. This depends on the circumstances surrounding the resignation.

If a worker resigns from their preinjury employment for reasons that are unrelated to their work injury (for example, a change in management), the WorkCover insurer has the choice to:

  • maintain WorkCover weekly payments for the injured worker; or
  • reduce the injured worker’s weekly payments; or
  • cease the worker’s weekly payments.

If a worker resigns because of their incapacity or inability to perform their work duties due to their workplace injury, this will not impact their entitlement to weekly payments.

When might WorkCover weekly payments be altered after an injured worker resigns?

There are certain factors that the WorkCover insurer will consider before deciding whether to make any changes to an injured worker’s weekly payments following a resignation. Those factors are:

  • Whether the worker resigned as a result of misconduct and the circumstances and reasons around the resignation;
  • The conduct of the employer in managing the resignation and what led to it;
  • The objectives of the WorkCover legislation regarding the assistance it offers in helping workers return to work.

Circumstances where the WorkCover insurer will not alter weekly payments

It is unlikely that the WorkCover insurer will cease, reduce or suspend weekly payments in circumstances where the employer failed to provide suitable employment to the injured worker and where an injured worker has been compliant with their WorkCover return-to-work obligations.

What are the employer’s obligations to provide suitable work to an injured worker?

Suitable employment refers to a job that an injured worker is currently suited for considering:

  • the worker’s injuries and limitations as provided in this WorkCover certificate of capacity;
  • the nature of the work;
  • the worker’s age, education, skills and work experience;
  • the worker’s place of residence; and
  • recommendations made by occupational rehabilitation services as part of the return-to-work processes.

An employer has the obligation to provide an injured worker with their pre-injury job or suitable employment within the obligation period, which is 52 weeks from the date that a worker ceases work due to their injury.

If an employer is unable to provide suitable employment for an injured worker, having regard to the above factors, it is said to have failed to provide suitable employment. If a worker resigns as a result, under these circumstances, this will not impact their weekly payments.

There is an exception to the employer’s obligation to provide suitable employment, and that is to work experience students.

What are the worker’s return to work obligations?

The purpose of WorkCover is to help people who have been injured in the course of their work to recover, rehabilitate and return to work. A WorkCover insurer will engage occupational rehabilitation services to meet with the worker and prepare a return-to-work plan based on the worker’s preferences, abilities and recommendations by the worker’s treating doctors.

In addition to attending and committing to the occupational rehabilitation services, the obligation is on the worker to:

  • cooperate with the WorkCover insurer and occupational rehabilitation services;
  • provide any documentation to assist in the process of preparing a return-to-work plan; and
  • attend any independent medical examination arranged by the WorkCover insurer in relation to the worker’s work capacity.

If a worker does not comply or cooperate with the WorkCover insurer and the occupational rehabilitation services, the WorkCover insurer has the right to cease, reduce or suspend the worker’s weekly payments.

Notice period to alter WorkCover weekly payments

If a worker has been paid for less than 12 weeks, the WorkCover insurer must provide notice of their intent to alter weekly payments (cease or reduce) to the worker for the period it takes to send postage.

If a worker is paid at least 12 weeks but less than 52 weeks of payments, the WorkCover insurer must provide notice to the worker for a period of 14 days plus the postage period.

If the worker has been on payments for 52 weeks or more, the WorkCover insurer must provide notice to the worker for a period of 28 days plus the postage period.

If the WorkCover insurer is terminating the weekly payment after the worker has received 130 weeks of WorkCover weekly payments, the WorkCover insurer must provide notice of 13 weeks plus the postage period.

There are exceptions to providing notice and one of those exceptions includes where a worker has resigned for reasons unrelated to their injury.

Are WorkCover weekly payments the only entitlements affected if I resign?

Yes. Your entitlement to reasonable medical and like expenses and WorkCover lump sum compensation are unaffected by your choice to resign from your employment whilst on WorkCover.

Can I challenge the WorkCover insurer’s decision to terminate my weekly payments?

You have the right to challenge the decision to alter your WorkCover weekly payments by making an application for conciliation at the workplace injury Commission. For further information on the conciliation process, please refer to our earlier blog, “WorkCover conciliation – am I eligible and how does it work?”.

Help from a WorkCover lawyer

If you or someone you know has had their WorkCover weekly payments terminated after they resigned from their workplace (or any other worker’s compensation dispute), please contact Polaris lawyers to speak with one of our compassionate and specialised lawyers.


1300 383 825 or email [email protected]

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