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Stuart Barnett is our mining industry’s leading personal injury lawyer. This month he has some important advice in relation to a Coal Miners entitlement to Accident Pay when injured at work.

Like all workers a person employed in or about a Coal Mine is entitled to receive weekly compensation when they suffer an incapacity for work as a result of a work-related injury. The Workers Compensation legislation sets out prescribed rates of weekly compensation which can differ depending on how long the injured worker is incapacitated. In many circumstances there is also an entitlement to what is called Accident Pay.

One way of describing Accident Pay is that it is a top up of the statutory weekly compensation rate to an agreed figure for an agreed period. There is sometimes a misconception that Accident pay is an entitlement that arises as a result of Workers Compensation legislation. This is not the case, Accident pay only arises as a result of a specific clause in an Industrial Award, Enterprise Agreement or employment contract.

Many workers employed in the coal mining industry are subject to an Enterprise Agreement with their employer. It is common for those Enterprise Agreements to contain an Accident Pay clause or entitlement.

The Black Coal Award also contains an Accident Pay Clause so even if you are not subject to an Enterprise Agreement it is possible that you have an entitlement to Accident Pay if you are employed under the Black Coal Award or your employment agreement adopts the Black Coal Award.

A typical Accident Pay clause in an Enterprise Agreement provides for a top up payment for up to 18 months of total incapacity. The Black Coal Award, likewise, provides for a top up payment for up to 18 months for injuries suffered prior to 1 November 2018 and after that date for a period of up to 52 weeks.

It is important to be aware of your potential Accident Pay entitlements, remember if it’s not in your Enterprise Agreement or in your employment agreement or you are not employed under the Black Coal Award then the chances are you do not have an entitlement to Accident Pay. 

This is general advice and because your individual circumstances will vary I recommend seeking out specific advice for your needs.

Stuart Barnett

Slater & Gordon Lawyers

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