Workers’ rights to keep in mind during lockdown

Workers’ rights to keep in mind during lockdown

Much has been said by employer groups surrounding entitlements for employers during lockdowns within South Australia, but what about employees and their entitlements?

Workers may feel pressured to follow instructions from their employer under these stressful circumstances. However, it is important to keep in mind your rights as a worker and more importantly, understand your entitlements. Below are six of your rights as a worker which may potentially be available to you.

  1. Annual Leave – You cannot be forced to use your annual leave during an unpaid stand-down.
  2. Sick/Carer’s Leave – If you are sick or caring for someone whilst on unpaid stand-down then you can use your sick/carer’s leave and be paid for that leave. This is otherwise known as personal/carer’s leave.
  3. Re-crediting your Annual Leave – If you are on annual leave and you are either sick or caring for someone then your annual leave should be re-credited, and that leave should instead be called personal/carer’s leave.
  4. Injured worker compensation – If you are an injured worker and have been stood-down without pay then you should be entitled to receive compensation from your employer’s insurer.
  5. Reduced hours or duties – If you have been advised your hours or duties are being reduced or diminished permanently then this may give rise to a redundancy payment.
  6. Casual worker – If you are a casual worker then now is the time to see whether you can request a conversion to permanent work. The Federal Government changed this criteria recently but as a general rule, if you have been employed on a casual basis for 12 months with your current employer you have a right to request, and potentially be made permanent.

Outside of the above rights, there are several other forms of compensation or entitlements you may be able to claim, including:

  1. Long Service Leave – If you are struggling to make ends meet, check whether you have Long Service Leave Entitlements, or any other statutory entitlements available to you.
  2. Leave – You can enquire with your employer what leave is available to you in your circumstance.
  3. Timely Pay Slips – All workers have to be provided with timely pay slips advising not only of the wage that is being paid to you, but also has to show an accrual of your leave entitlements.
  4. Injury entitlements – If you have been injured at work in the past then make sure you are not missing out on any entitlements through the insurer.
  5. Unfair Dismissal – You have 21 days to make an application for unfair or unlawful dismissal so if you think your contract has been terminated or adversely affected then get in contact with your union or Boylan Lawyers.
  6. Liquidation or Bankruptcy – If your employer goes into liquidation/bankruptcy then the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) may provide you the accrued entitlements, including wages and leave entitlements that your employer cannot afford to pay.

If you are struggling with your current income during lockdown, you may be eligible for other financial Covid19 support, including:

  1. Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – A $1500.00 payment from the Commonwealth Government to a worker for each 14-day period a worker is required to quarantine and cannot work due to quarantine (conditions apply).
  2. Covid-19 Disaster Payment – On 28 July 2021 workers can receive $375.00 per week if they are unable to work between 8 and 20 hours a week and $600.00 a week if unable to work for over 20 hours a week.
  3. SA Covid-19 Cluster Isolation Payment – Unlike the disaster payment this payment is a one-off payment of $300.00. You are eligible if you must self-isolate due to being in a cluster area and is to compensate you whilst awaiting your result.

Check your eligibility on the SA Government website here: www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/school-and-community/financial-support-for-individuals

 

Andrew Wright is a Partner at Boylan Lawyers, expert in industrial relations for workers, and the pre-selected Labor candidate for the Seat of Stuart.

 

Boylan Lawyers puts the rights of South Australian workers first. If you want more information about your rights as a worker during the Covid19 lockdown, contact our team of experts on (08) 8632 2777. It costs nothing to ask a question.

 

 

Andrew Wright
Employment Lawyer & Partner
Boylan Lawyers

Hurting injured workers with impunity

Hurting injured workers with impunity

Injured Worker | Boylan Lawyers

Every South Australian worker is covered by workers compensation insurance which covers them if they are injured at work.

Our workers compensation law allows up to 2 years of wages as well as 3 years of medical expenses, rehabilitation, and a one-off payment of lump sum compensation if the Whole Person Impairment (“WPI”) from the injury is 5% or more.

South Australian workers with 30% WPI are called “Seriously Injured”. They are entitled to wages until retirement age and ongoing medical expenses. My Seriously Injured clients generally cannot work at all, need lots of help in their daily lives, and are in no position to support themselves or their families. Through no fault of their own they are significantly compromised.

Treasurer Rob Lucas is trying to change the way that WPI is assessed by changing the Impairment Assessment Guidelines. By doing it this way he avoids any scrutiny by the Parliament.

In most all cases the proposed changes will cut how much WPI injured workers are found to have. Rob Lucas is making it much harder for injured workers to get a lump sum payment or be considered Seriously Injured.

The changes will make life harder for our most vulnerable workers. It will affect their ability to recover from injuries, and return to work and the community. 

The Treasurer Rob Lucas should not be able to make such change unilaterally. Such changes must be kept in the ambit of Parliament to allow proper discussion and debate: not pushed through without proper consultation. 

There are over 750,000 employed persons in South Australia and their fate should not be left up to one person’s absolute discretion. We support a measure to ensure all changes to the Impairment Assessment Guidelines be assented to by the Parliament.

Hearing Awareness Week – 1 – 7 March, 2021

Hearing Awareness Week – 1 – 7 March, 2021

Hearing loss is silent. It often arises gradually, and the sufferer will usually not be aware that they have it until significant damage has occurred. This makes it both insidious and dangerous, for if there is an external cause it may be that awareness comes too late for anything to be done to stop the damage. Indeed, as you are reading this, the damage may already have been done to you.

Hearing loss can have many causes. Some benign, perhaps even reversible, others more serious and indicative of underlying conditions. It is often permanent. Noise exposure is a common work-related cause. It can also be caused by other factors such as exposure to certain types of chemicals known to enter the body and cause damage to the hearing (a phenomenon known as “ototoxicity”).

Hearing loss is a quality-of-life condition. There is a tendency to treat it as insignificant and stoically shrug it off (or worse, have others dismiss it) but hearing loss is a pervasive and life-altering permanent disability and it must be regarded with due seriousness. Experiences with hearing loss can range from not being able to hear family members (especially children and grandchildren) when they speak, through to being unable to hear the smoke alarm if it goes off during the night. Daily hurdles impact different people differently, and can be inconvenient, frustrating, isolating, and even devastating. This is to say nothing of the effects of tinnitus (ringing or other sound that is perceived by the brain) which often arises in tandem with hearing loss itself and which can run the gamut from an occasional buzzing through to constant, blaring noise. Without proper management, these conditions can become all-consuming and those who suffer from them need understanding and, above all, support. Especially when these life-altering conditions are inflicted upon them by their work environment.

What Can Be Done If You Have A Hearing Loss?

If you have a hearing loss and were exposed to noise or chemicals known to damage hearing in the course of employment, then you should arrange a consult to speak to a lawyer about it. In South Australia, it is better to make a claim either while you are still working or within 2 years of retirement, but even if the exposure was many years ago, or you have been retired for a while, you may still be able to make a claim. It is better to ask the question than to leave the issue unaddressed.

If successful in a claim you could get both a lump sum payment as well as high-quality hearing aid devices and associated battery and maintenance costs covered on an ongoing basis.

You can contact Boylan Lawyers on 08 8632 2777 to arrange a free 30-minute consult.

Andrew Wright visits Woodville High School to speak to Year 12 Law Studies class

Andrew Wright visits Woodville High School to speak to Year 12 Law Studies class

Andrew Wright | Boylan Lawyers

On Wednesday the 24th of February 2021, my good friend Andrew Wright, Partner in Adelaide law firm Boylan Lawyers, one of the largest independent legal practices in South Australia, visited the Woodville High School Year 12 Law Studies class as a guest speaker to talk about his experiences and responsibilities as a lawyer. In addition, he took questions from the students which varied greatly on many interesting topics that Andrew was more than happy to chat about.

Topics covered included; Andrew’s pathway to becoming a lawyer/barrister and partner in a successful law firm, his experiences across many fields including; criminal disputes, personal injury, workers compensation, industrial relations and civil law more generally. And finally, his journey as a successful business owner was also discussed.

Andrew was incredibly impressed with the interesting and thoughtful questions put to him by the class. The students were both fascinated and moved by the inspirational advice and stories that Andrew was able to share with us about his time in the field of law.

Hopefully, Andrew’s visit has inspired a few or perhaps many members of my class to pursue a career in law and or the State/Federal Parliaments.

The students and I are grateful to Andrew for taking time out of his busy schedule to catch up with us!

 

Damon Flint

Legal Studies Teacher

Woodville High School

This is Mental Health Week

This is Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week | Boylan Lawyers

Most of us know about R U OK Day but did you know that this week (10 to 17 October) is Mental Health Week?

Mental Health Week is an annual event that aims to improve community awareness and interest in mental health and wellbeing. It is a nationally recognised time to focus on your mental health – a task that is particularly fundamental during a year in which we have all faced adjustment, uncertainty and barriers to normal daily connection.

There is an increasing willingness to talk about mental health in our families, amongst our friends, within our workplaces and more broadly in the community. Beyond Blue reports that Australia is one of the most mental health literate countries in the world (2019). We have a growing understanding of the importance of good mental health and there is bipartisan support allowing increasing political attention and funding. These are all steps in the right direction but it is something that forever will be a work in progress, particularly in the legal profession.

We invite you to use this week as motivation to engage in conversations with friends, family and the community about mental health and wellbeing. Most importantly, we hope it can serve as an opportunity for you to check in with yourself and access the valuable and accessible resources available to assist you. You deserve it and your wellbeing matters.

Find out more about Mental Health Week, how to support community wellbeing and avenues to seek support on the SA Health Website.

Find out about the program of events and activities for Mental Health Week 2020 here. It includes a comedy night and art exhibition!

Source – The Law Society of South Australia