Terminating the employment of employees on workers’ compensation

Workers’ compensation is regulated by the States notwithstanding that most employees in Australia have their terms and conditions of employment regulated by the federal workplace relations system under the Fair Work Act and its progeny the Fair Work Commission. In Western Australia workers’ compensation is administered by WorkCover WA under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
Employers in Western Australia are required where reasonably practicable to keep open the job held by an employee who is injured by a compensable accident or injury for 12 months, or a position which is comparable in status and remuneration. However this is a slightly different concept than the protected status of the contract of employment.
In Western Australia, it is permissible for an employer in these circumstances to dismiss the employee within the 12 month following the compensable event provided that the employer provides at least 28 days’ notice to WorkCover WA and the employee, and there is no intervention in that process thereafter. However, the dismissal of the employee in these circumstances does NOT affect his or her entitlement to statutory workers’ compensation, either by way of weekly payments or lump sums.
Quite separately from all of this, the Fair Work Act provides that it is unlawful for an employer bound by the Act to dismiss an employee because the employee is temporarily absent from work because of illness or accident of most kinds.
Quite apart from all of this, these requirements apply in addition to the unfair dismissal laws of the country.