Can you get fired while on workers compensation? The short answer is YES!
While your employer may terminate you, it is not legal for them to do so within six (6) months of your injury, purely because you’re unfit to return to work. This period is called the ‘protected period’.
After 6 months however, it is legal for your employer to terminate you, provided they have facilitated all things possible to assist you to return to work.
If you are terminated however, you may have options to seek reinstatement.
Your employer’s obligations to you while on worker’s compensation/WorkCover
Your employer should facilitate your return to work by:
Part of supporting your return to work, requires that your employer identifying suitable work options for you by considering the following:
Terminating an employee on workers compensation/WorkCover in NSW – what about your entitlements?
If your employer dismisses you while you’re away from work on worker’s compensation, they must give you written notice.
If your employer terminates your employment purely because your GP continues to certify you as being unfit for work, you’ll still be eligible to receive your workers compensation benefits.
That is, if you’re certified unfit to return to work, you will still be entitled to receive reasonably necessary medical treatment and weekly benefits in accordance with your entitlement period.
If on the other hand, you’re certified unfit to return to pre-injury duties but are fit for suitable duties, you will receive pro-rated medical treatment and weekly benefits in accordance with your entitlement period.
When your employment eventually ceases (for example, when you resign or are terminated), your weekly benefits will stop being paid by your employer, and the workers compensation insurer will then start to pay your weekly benefits to you directly.
Can I resign while on workers compensation/WorkCover in NSW?
You can resign from your job while on workers compensation provided you give the correct notice period to your employer. You can use your workers compensation period as the notice period. In some circumstances, it is not recommended to resign, and we recommend seeking advice in relation to this prior to formally resigning because it can be used against you in your claim.
Can your employment be reinstated if you’ve been terminated by your employer while on workers compensation/WorkCover in NSW?
If your employer has terminated your employment due to your injury, you may seek reinstatement of your employment when you’re certified by your GP as fit to return to pre-injury duties. Provided it has not been more than two years since your dismissal, you can seek reinstatement:
Speak to your employer about reinstatement. If not to your pre-injury role, to one that is not less advantageous than your pre-injury role.
If your employer is unwilling to reinstate you, you need to apply to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) for a reinstatement order.