Code of Injured Workers Rights
Code of Injured Workers Rights
Congratulations on all your work to fight for the rights of injured workers across Victoria.
For years we’ve been telling the government that injured workers have rights and because of our collective action, we’re finally starting to get some momentum. Now, we start the next step.
The Victorian Government is committed to creating a charter of injured workers’ rights and they have invited the Injured Workers Support Network to contribute to the drafting. Let’s make sure that the Code of Injured Workers’ Rights puts injured workers at its centre.
To contribute to our submission for a Code of Injured Workers Rights, fill out the survey here.
What is a Code of rights?
A code of rights protects the basic rights and freedoms that people have. A Code of Injured Workers Rights will be a massive win for injured workers across Victoria. It will set out the basic values and freedoms of injured workers that should be protected. It will help us hold insurance agents, WorkSafe, Independent Medical Examiners, and others accountable for the way they treat injured workers.
The most well-known code of rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created by the United Nations. This document sets out the fundamental human rights all human beings should have, regardless of their age, nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual preference or other status. There are many other codes of rights.
Why has the Victorian Government committed to this?
The Victorian Government has committed to creating a Code of Injured Workers Rights because the recent Rozen Review into the workers compensation system found that WorkCover was letting down injured workers, particularly long term injured workers. One of the review's 22 recommendations to fix the system was for the creation of an Injured Workers Code of Rights. There have also been 2 other Ombudsman reports into the WorkCover system highlighting some of its major shortcomings that the Victorian Government has been called to act on.
Are there other examples of a Code of Injured Workers’ Rights?
Yes. New Zealand does have a Code of Accident Compensation Claimants (ACC) Rights. This Code applies for anyone claiming under their Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act through the ACC. In his recommendations, Peter Rozen QC specifically mentioned this code as an example of what was possible. We are using this Code as inspiration for our Code of Injured Workers’ Rights. Click here to view the New Zealand Code of ACC Claimants’ Rights.
Why is this important?
This is important because right now too many injured workers are bullied and intimidated by the systems. A code that lists our fundamental rights and principles to push back and make sure injured workers are treated fairly under the workers’ compensation system. That is why it is so important to share your voice. We need to make sure the code puts injured workers, not insurance companies, at the centre of the WorkCover process.
Don’t injured workers already have rights?
Like all Victorians, injured workers have rights under several different laws but there are significant barriers to exercising these rights. Workers’ compensation can involve a lot of conflict between workers and their claims managers, causing mental stress and wearing workers out. . A code of injured workers’ rights can go further in providing specific protections for injured workers and the discrimination they face.
Who is the Injured Workers Support Network?
The Injured Workers Support Network is a network of injured workers across Victoria that meet regularly to support each other through the WorkCover process and advocate for change to the WorkCover system. We have 3 chapters across Victoria in Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo. We are also in the process of starting a Geelong chapter and have a digital group that meets online as well as a social group. On our website we provide resources and information to help injured workers navigate the WorkCover system. This information is geared towards supporting you, the worker! Check us out on our website here and come to one of our local group meetings which you can see here. Everyone is welcome!