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 Plan to slash WorkCover bill by $1bn

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P.F.



Number of posts : 10
Registration date : 2007-06-04

PostSubject: Plan to slash WorkCover bill by $1bn   Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:31 pm

By CRAIG BILDSTIEN



April 02, 2007 02:15am

Article from: The Advertiser



INJURED workers would save the financially troubled WorkCover $1 million if they went back to work just one day earlier.

And if five employees on benefits for more than three years returned to their jobs today, they would save another $1 million.



A WorkCover report prepared last November and released by the State
Government last week does not specify over what period the savings
would be made.



But in a frank assessment of its effectiveness, WorkCover has
admitted there is "no direct, financial incentive" to influence injured
workers to return to work.



An injured worker on average weekly earnings does not have the
weekly benefit of $774 reduced until 12 months after the injury, when
it drops to $637.



But WorkCover has revealed it wanted to cut the average weekly
benefit by $35 immediately, reducing it to $739 - with a further $137
reduction after 13 weeks to $602.



It also wanted to reduce its generous maximum average weekly
earnings figure of $1930 to encourage higher-paid workers to return to
work early.



The WorkCover report reveals South Australian has the lowest return-to-work rate in Australia.



The number of injured still receiving workers' compensation
benefits six months after their injury is more than double the national
average - 46 per cent, compared with 20 per cent.



Twenty-eight per cent of those receiving benefits have been on
compensation for more than three years and account for 45 per cent of
the scheme's claims liability.



WorkCover's board fears its unfunded claims liability could blow out to $1 billion within months without drastic measures.



Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright has declined to accept
the board's recommendations pending a further public review by workers'
compensation experts Alan Clayton and John Walsh, who have until
November 30 to report back. Public Service Association general
secretary Jan McMahon said yesterday her union would fight to ensure
that workers' benefits were not cut.



SA Unions president Nick Thredgold pledged that he would "strive to
ensure that any adjustments are not at the expense of injured workers".



Business SA president Rob Chapman criticised Mr Wright for delaying his decision, saying "we will have wasted another year"


Posted by Reader at 8:11 AM, 2/4/2007
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