QLD Workers’ Compensation: Supreme Court clarifies state of connection test

Each state and territory has workers’ compensation legislation that governs the operation of that state or territories’ workers’ compensation scheme. But which scheme governs a Queensland worker who injures themselves whilst working interstate? The relevant legislative provision applicable to this question is s 113 of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (‘the Act’), which sets out a number of considerations the court can take into account when determining whether a workers’ employment is “connected” with Queensland. Such considerations include, but are not limited to: –  

– Where the worker usually workers in their employment;  

– Where the worker is usually based;  

– The employer’s principal place of business; and  

– The worker’s work history with the employer and the intention of the worker and employer.  

This test, commonly referred to as the “state of connection” test, was recently considered by the Supreme Court of Queensland in Covill v WorkCover Queensland [2022] QSC 171. 

Facts

The Applicant, Ms. Lisa Tanya Covill, worked for Atlas People Pty Ltd (‘Atlas’) as a chef over two periods, under separate contracts of employment. Ms. Covill’s first assignment for Atlas was in New South Wales from mid-2019 until August 2019. Thereafter, Ms. Covill worked in the Northern Territory from late August 2019.  

On 17 December 2019, Ms. Covill sustained an injury in the course of her employment whilst working in the Northern Territory. WorkCover Queensland (‘WorkCover’) subsequently accepted her application for compensation arising out of this incident. Ms. Covill’s statutory claim proceeded apparently without issue. She subsequently elected to pursue a common law claim, serving a notice of claim for damages in 2021. WorkCover then refused to respond to her claim, contending that she was not entitled to damages as her employment was not closely connected with Queensland, pursuant to s 113 of the Act.  

Decision

Justice Applegarth ultimately found in favour of Ms. Covill, agreeing that her employment was connected to Queensland as defined by s 113 of the Act.  

The court considered the entirety of Ms. Covill’s work history with the employer, and not just the specific ‘contract of employment’ that was in effect as at the date of incident. In this regard, Justice Applegarth opined that: – 

“As to work history, s 113(6) of the Act does not provide that regard must be had to the worker’s work history with the employer over a certain period. In the absence of a statutory framework that compels having regard only to a specific period prior to the date in question, it would appear to be a matter for the trial judge to work out, having regard to the particular circumstances of the case, what an appropriate frame of reference is.” 

The court also found that notwithstanding terms to the contrary in a “Conditions of Assignment” document signed by the parties, there was both a reasonable expectation and likelihood that Ms. Covill would continue working for Atlas on assignment in various states and territories in the future, not being usually based in one state.  

As such, Justice Applegarth concluded that her employment was most closely connected to Queensland, being where Atlas was located.  

Conclusion

When considering the state of connection test, regard must be had to the ‘nature of the employment relationship’ between the worker and employer, including earlier work performed under separate contracts of employment, as well as the future intentions of the parties.  

Like? Share it with your friends.

Contact the Author

Topics

More Articles

TAC索赔知识库: 在维多利亚(VIC)发生车祸该怎么办?

每个人都希望安安全全出车去,平平安安回家来。但,事故往往在意想不到的一瞬间发生,能造成的伤害却可能需要一辈子来承受。若在澳洲发生车祸,您更可能会因为家人不在身边陪伴、语言不通、不熟悉澳洲法律体系而造成更大的心理压力。如果您或家人、朋友在维多利亚发生车祸,立德事务所(Littles Lawyers)能免费为您提供初询服务,协助您了解理赔的程序,简化您的理赔过程,让您可免于承受繁琐的索赔体系带来的无形压力,专注在车祸后的康复以及休息养伤。  每个州属的法律、保险体系不一样,若您在新南威尔士(NSW)发生车祸,请浏览此页阅读相关信息。  发生车祸以后要采取什么行动呢? 1.      向警方报案: 您报案的时候要记录警官的联络信息以及案件编号(police reference number)。这些信息在您向交通事故委员会(Transport Accident Commission, 简称TAC)进行索赔申请的时候需要提供。  2.      看诊:意外发生后,您应尽快看诊,获得医生开出的“工作能力评估假条/病假纸”(Certificate of Capacity, 简称COC)。若您因车祸而无法工作,您更应尽快看诊。  3.      向TAC递交申请:您可以在TAC官网递交申请表(请搜TAC Online Claim Lodgement Form)或拨电至...

Read More