Do you have someone helping around the house? Are you covered if they get hurt?
September 26, 2017
These days with life so busy, most of us get help around the house, whether it’s a babysitter, gardener, cleaner, nanny, inhome carer or someone just running an errand, most of us need help at some point. But what happens if your helper hurts themselves?
You can still be found liable to pay compensation even if you have public liability insurance in your Household Policy. This is because public liability insurances do not normally apply if the person injured is considered an “employee”. It does not matter if you believed you had engaged your cleaner or gardener as an independent contractor and not as an employee – if the terms and conditions of their engagement indicate that they are an “employee” at law, then they will be considered as such. If the helper was paid on an hourly rate, was primarily paid for their labour, the homeowner dictates work times, they may be seen as “employee” and not a contractor.
Such was the outcome in a Queensland case where a 61yearold gardener, sustained a significant injury to his leg while pruning trees when he fell through a metal cover that was placed over a water tank. Initially, the gardener’s injuries did not seem too severe. However, he later developed a blood clot in his injured leg and that clot resulted in a pulmonary embolism that eventually caused his death. The gardener’s s widow brought a claim against the Householder and was awarded $445 thousand dollars in compensation plus legal fees were required to be paid.
To make sure you’re covered, a WorkCover Queensland Household Worker Insurance Policy will protect you for as little as $50 for two years for workers deemed to be “employees”.
It is a simple online application. Click here: (https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/newBusiness/hhw.wc) to view the application.
What if you’re running a business from home? Is it different ?
It should be noted that a WorkCover Household Worker Policy will not cover workers, including family members engaged in connection with a business operating from home, such as a home photography studio, home hairdressing business, office or operating a sharing economy like AirBnB.
In this situation a WorkCover Accident Insurance Policy with WorkCover Queensland should be purchased to cover accidents or injuries to workers employed in their home operated business.
This policy can also be purchased online. Click here:
(https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/newBusiness/wizard.wc) to view the application.
WorkCover Queensland advises that uninsured employers who lodge WorkCover claims are held to account and subject to significant financial penalties, including the cost of WorkCover claims lodged by their employees.
The penalties can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for severe injuries, if you do not have the adequate types of cover for either the Household Worker Insurance policy or the Accident Insurance policy.
Likewise, General Insurance products for Home Based Businesses requires separate consideration.