Landlords who employ or are considering employing casual workers for jobs in and around their investment properties can save thousands in potential injury claim costs simply by choosing the right workers’ compensation policy for their needs.
WorkCover Queensland offers two policies – accident insurance and household worker insurance – which protect against potential compensation costs if casual workers employed by landlords or tenants are injured while working at their properties or places of residence.
Workers who are directly engaged by landlords or property agents are generally covered by an accident insurance policy. Accident insurance is also recommended for homeowners who let out part of their house short-term to the public regardless of whether they are living at the property or not.
However, if renters directly engage casual workers (eg. cleaner, babysitter) then the renter is required to have household worker insurance.
WorkCover Queensland Manager Financial Control and Reporting, Robbie McLean said landlords, home owners and renters could be liable for compensation costs in the tens of thousands of dollars if they’re uninsured.
Queenslanders hiring casual cleaners, babysitters, nannies, gardeners, labourers and in-home carers between November 2015 and October 2017 protected themselves against $615,000 in injury claim costs simply by taking out a two-year $50 household worker policy.
“Good help around the home is so hard to find and keep these days. That’s why having choice of insurance coverage is so important,” Mr McLean said.
“Household worker and accident insurance ensure peace of mind protection from potentially significant compensation costs. At just $50 for up to two years, household worker insurance is excellent value for money.”
Brona O’Dowd, from the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Diamond Valley, was relieved to be covered after the experienced labourer she recently contracted to build a pergola fell four metres from a faulty scaffold and severely fractured his heel.
On business in Mackay at the time of the accident, Brona was horrified to learn of her labourer’s fate via text message.
“The injury was that bad he had to crawl across the backyard to reach his phone and try and call an ambulance. It must have been horrific for him,” Brona said.
A household worker policyholder for seven years who also employs a local gardener, Brona is adamant her policy is money well spent.
“The coverage is very worthwhile for the price,” Brona said. “It’s a horrible experience when a worker gets hurt on your property. You just want to make sure they can recover well and can continue in their line of work.”
If you’re a property owner or a tenant, be smart and use this comparison table to choose the right insurance policy for your circumstances and protect against injury claim costs.
|Your status||Accident Insurance Policy||Household Worker Policy||Policy owner|
|Owner occupier||Property owner|
|House sitter||Property owner|
|Running a business from a private dwelling with general use and access to public||Business owner|
|Landlord owning one or more investment properties||Landlord|
|Owner occupier letting a room
|Sharing economy* (i.e. Airbnb) – owner letting part of house to
|Sharing economy* (i.e. Airbnb) – short term letting of entire house to the public||Property owner|
* The sharing economy connects sellers (providers) who offer a service with buyers (users) via a facilitator who operates an app or website. If you provide a sharing economy service, check with the Australian Tax Office to understand your tax obligations.
If you’re unsure if a casual worker is a contractor or want to check if your existing insurance policies cover household workers, call WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128, or apply for a policy online by visiting www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/insurance.