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ACC for workers suffering traumatic event exposure

ACC for workers suffering traumatic event exposure

Employees who develop a mental injury after being exposed to a sudden traumatic event during the course of their work will in future be entitled to ACC, says ACC Minister Maryan Street.

“The change is one of a number of amendments included in the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill (No.2), which continues the Labour-led government’s commitment to improving access to the ACC scheme.”

The Bill, which had its first reading today, also improves cover for work-related injuries, eligibility and entitlement to weekly compensation, and entitlement and processes for vocational rehabilitation and independence, said Maryan Street.

“The introduction of cover for clinically significant mental injury caused by a traumatic event which has occurred in the workplace means that, for example, a train driver who hits someone on the tracks or a bank worker who witnesses a colleague shot during a robbery will now get the same benefits under the scheme as others harmed by their work.”

The Bill also changes the provisions for work-related gradual process, disease, and infection claims to ensure people harmed by their work receive greater access to cover and more clarity around their ability to access it, the minister said.

“Importantly the Bill clarifies that the responsibility and cost for investigating such a claim rests with ACC.”

The Bill improves access to weekly compensation for seasonal and casual workers following concerns they were disadvantaged by the current rules for calculating entitlement. Nearly a quarter of today’s workforce is in non-standard work and the change reflects the increasingly varied labour market.

“The changes will see the compensation assessments made fairer and simpler; will allow earlier access to minimum weekly compensation for some and increase the rate of weekly compensation paid to potential earners,” said Maryan Street.

“Vocational rehabilitation provisions will also be made more flexible, enabling ACC the discretion to fund rehabilitation beyond the current three year time limit.”

The 65 year age limit on vocational rehabilitation will also be removed in recognition that this age group is increasingly opting to remain in, or return to, work, the minister said.

“A number of other policy issues and improvements are addressed in the Bill, which is one of many steps taken by the Labour-led government to ensure our world-leading ACC scheme continues to be fair and sustainable.”

The Bill will go before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee for consideration and public submissions. It is anticipated the committee will report its recommendations back to the House in May, Maryan Street said.

ENDS

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