3.1 This chapter makes a range of law reform proposals with respect to work health and safety and workers’ compensation aimed at addressing and removing potential barriers to workforce participation for mature age workers.
3.2 The first part of the chapter examines work health and safety. The ALRC proposes that Safe Work Australia, in its activities and research, should consider and recognise health and safety issues that may affect mature age workers. Safe Work Australia should also, in conjunction with state and territory work health and safety regulators, develop guidance material around these issues.
3.3 The second part of the chapter focuses on workers’ compensation. In this part the ALRC considers potential reform to the retirement provisions in the Commonwealth workers’ compensation system in order to remove the barriers to mature age workers remaining in, or returning to, the workforce. In principle, the removal of barriers should require the elimination of all age-based restrictions from Commonwealth workers’ compensation legislation. However, given the potential cost implications and unintended consequences for other workers in receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, the ALRC considers it may be necessary to take a three-tiered approach to reform. First, retirement provisions should be legislatively tied to Age Pension age. Secondly, the ALRC asks whether incapacity payment periods should be extended. Thirdly, the ALRC asks whether workers over Age Pension age who can prove that, had they not been injured, they would have continued to work should receive a supplementary payment.
3.4 The second part also discusses the inconsistent coverage of volunteers under workers’ compensation and the ALRC proposes that Safe Work Australia consider this issue. Finally, the ALRC asks whether the treatment of superannuation payments in the calculation of workers’ compensation incapacity payments creates a barrier to workforce participation for mature age workers.