It is easy to take for granted that certain ideas and policies will remain the same into infinity. Unfortunately, our world consists of rapid changes and staying on top can be a challenge. Learning of changes to insurance schemes after the fact can be devastating, which is why you need savvy insurance professionals looking out for you.
When all but two Australian states took part in the harmonisation of workers compensation schemes, significant changes in journey cover occurred. For example:
- A lack of compensation for employees who sustain and injury whilst travelling to and from work.
- Extremely limited cover for employees who are in transit for job-related activities whether it be driving to a meeting or picking up supplies for the company washroom.
- Requiring employees seeking compensation to produce a tangible and significant connection between work and the journey before consideration of payment occurs.
There have been ongoing discussions regarding the possibility of QLD and ACT joining the rest of the states in this scheme promise even more modifications to specific parts of the worker’s compensation scheme. These potential changes increase the overall uncertainty regarding covered events as well as the degree of compensation for covered events.
What Is Journey Cover?
A policy that provides journey cover will compensate workers in the event that they sustain an injury during their travel to and from work. The insurance spans the gap created when states completed the harmonising of workers compensation schemes. At one time, an employer’s workers compensation policy would pay if an employee could not work because of an injury occurring during transit or during travel that is a part of the job. The non-payment or limited payment model exists in all but two Australian states or territories, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
For example, Debra is the office manager at a small medical practice. Providing all hygiene essentials for the restroom facilities is a part of her job. One day, Debra is out of the office to pick up items for the office and is the victim of a car accident. Due to her injuries, she will be unable to work for several months. Several years ago, the medical office’s worker’s compensation insurance would have provided for Debra. The law changed, and this is no longer the case. However, because her employer purchased journey cover, Debra will receive compensation while she is unable to work.
What Will a Journey Policy Provide to an Injured Employee?
While the specifics of every policy are unique, there are several general items that most journey cover will provide. As always, consult with your insurance professional to learn about specifics of your policy.
Typical benefits under journey accident coverage, these may vary with specific cover:
Who Should Consider a Journey Accident Policy?
Generally speaking, a policy to take care of employees who experience accidents whilst travelling to and from work or for work-related activities is something all companies ought to contemplate. Specific circumstances include:
- The location of your company because not all Australian states and territories include journey cover as a part of their workers’ compensation insurance. Journey cover can be an asset to your business if you are in the following areas:
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- If you are looking for an employee recruitment edge, offering employees journey cover is an excellent addition to a benefits package.
- If you wish to promote or increase goodwill (or avoid unrest) within your company, journey insurance demonstrates to your staff that you care about their well-being.
- If your company has more than one location in different states or territories, journey insurance cover will keep the standard of cover the same for all employees. This is especially true if one of your locations is in Queensland or the Australian Capital Territory, where workers’ compensation insurance still includes provisions for covering employees during work-related journeys.
*It is important to remember that your public liability policy will not provide compensation for journey claims.*
What Kinds of Excursions Qualify as Work-Related Journeys?
As with all policies, your ability to understand the terminology, as well as the definitions and restrictions, is essential to ensure correct cover. Consult with an insurance professional to make sure that you have the journey cover necessary for your business.
Journeys that typically will qualify as work-related:
- Travel from home to the place of employment and from the place of work to home
- Travel during lunch breaks as well as morning and afternoon tea breaks
- Travel to attend union meetings
- Approved or sanctioned activities as long as the employee does not make a significant deviation from the most direct route whether coming or going
- Travel to and from home or work to a compensated meeting, seminar, lecture, professional development training activity, or examination approved by the business
For example, Myles is a cook at a café. His boss pays him to attend a weekly training program to enhance his skills. While he is in route to his class, Myles is in an car accident. He sustains injuries that prevent him from doing his job. Because this was a work sanctioned activity for which he received compensation, Myles gets payment through the company’s journey cover.
Ben, who is also a cook at the same café where Myles works, decides to attend culinary classes. He does not receive compensation from the café for taking the classes, and his learning is independent of his job. If Ben sustains injuries in an accident on the way to his culinary class, the business’ journey cover will not provide compensation. This is because Ben was not on the way to a company-sanctioned activity and he received no pay from the company for attending.
Companies must think about journey cover for their employees. In the long run, the cover helps everyone concerned. To find out more information, contact your insurance professional.
*Please Note* The material presented in this blog post is for informational use only and is not legally binding insurance advice. Please consult with an insurance professional to learn more about your personal and professional insurance options.