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Compensation negotiation call

EMPLOYERS and employees could soon be negotiating their own workers’ compensation packages if a new proposal is accepted.

But employees will still be allowed access to common law.

In its submission to the current workers’ compensation review, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA said workers could be allowed to sue their employers for damages provided:

• They elect to sue by a specified time after which they cease to receive statutory benefits

• There is a limit to the size of damages payout that can be awarded

• Payouts are taken either wholly

or partly as annuities or periodic installments.

The chamber wants employers and employees to assume and control risk in their workplace by negotiating their own entitlement packages to apply in the event of injury.

Entitlements currently prescribed by statute would become open for negotiation although all packages should encompass both automatic benefits and the right to sue.

Chamber spokesman on occupational safety and health Anne Bellamy said the cost of premiums had reached unprecedented levels and was no longer an overhead that could be regarded as reasonable.

She said every day around 230 claims were lodged at a daily cost of $2 million.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said the workers’ compensation system review should be given the highest priority.

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