The owner of a Sydney brasserie has been fined $3000 after failing to pass on weekly workers compensation benefit payments to a staff member.
The prosecution, heard in the NSW Chief Industrial Magistrate's court, follows a WorkCover investigation that revealed the employer did not meet their statutory obligations and withheld $4568 in weekly benefit payments from an injured worker.
During 2008 a waitress employed at the brasserie received a serious laceration to her right hand when she slipped on a wet floor while holding a glass.
The worker required hand surgery and was unfit for work for six months and had provided the required medical evidence until she returned to her pre-injury duties in March 2009.
WorkCover's investigation found the workers compensation scheme agent had provided the employer with four separate cheques that totalled $6,853 to cover weekly benefit entitlements and medical expenses.
The employer deposited the cheques in a bank account and withheld the worker's weekly benefit payments. However a cheque for $2,285 was later paid to a medical provider for treatment received by the injured worker.
The worker's solicitor had also contacted the workers compensation insurance scheme agent and advised the employer of his obligations, but no payments were provided to the worker.
It is important for employers to maintain communication with their workers compensation insurance agent and provide ongoing support and assistance to injured workers, according to director of WorkCover's provider and injury management services, Mary Hawkins.
"This includes providing weekly benefit payments, medical expenses and an appropriate return to work program," Hawkins said.
"This worker was significantly financially disadvantaged by not receiving the weekly benefit payments she was entitled to under the law."