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Am I liable for injury of someone, whom I employ to work on my property? Yes, you are. That is why we strongly advise you and every Queensland home owner to get a Household Worker’s insurance. Queenslanders who hired casual cleaners, babysitters, nannies, gardeners, labourers and in-home carers between November 2015 and October 2017 have protected themselves against $615,000 in household worker injury claim costs simply by taking out a $50 insurance policy.

During this period, 45 claims were lodged with WorkCover Queensland against household workers’ insurance policyholders resulting in average costs of over $15,000. Costs associated with household worker injury claims can be significant, with one injury incurring over $115,000 in rehabilitation and medical expense costs.

WHAT DOES IT COVER?

WorkCover Queensland’s Household Workers’ Insurance policy covers you against costs for the compensation if a household worker employed by you suffers injury while working for you. Note that if the injured worker works for you in his capacity as an employee of a business, any costs related to his injury should be covered by that business’ accident insurance policy, not your Household Worker’s insurance policy. However, if a household worker is referred to you by an agency, but you are the one who did the hiring, you are responsible for compensating the worker for an injury.

WHAT IS A HOUSEHOLD? WHAT IS HOUSEHOLD WORK?

According to Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2003 (Qld), a household includes a private dwelling house or the grounds of the dwelling house and everything in and about and in connection with private house and its grounds. Household is not limited to a particular structure, so can be a caravan, a boat or an apartment. Gardens of a private household, holiday homes (if not rented), rental property (if a worker is employed by a tenant), place of residency also used for business purposes are all covered by the Household Worker’s insurance policy. ‘In connection with’ a house or its grounds means work done in connection with the domestic residence. For example, if a nanny drives a child to football training, this work activity is in connection with the domestic residence and, therefore, is covered by the household worker policy.

WHO IS A HOUSEHOLD WORKER?

Household workers include cleaners, nannies, baby sitters, gardeners, handymen and in-home carers. Individual sole trader contractors with ABN’s operating their own business may also be considered household workers.

TERM AND COSTS

WorkCover Queensland’s Household Workers’ Insurance policy costs $50 for a term of two years. The current period of insurance runs from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018. This is a set time frame where all policies have a common end date irrespective of when the policy commences. The premium is not pro-rated but is discounted to $25 if a policy is taken out less than 12 months before the common end date. Renewal notices will be sent in late November 2018 or early December 2018. To insure for another two years, simply pay your premium by the due date.

CASE EXAMPLE

In Johnson v Hancock [2014] QCA 130, a woman was awarded $445,515 damages in a claim for loss of dependency arising out of the death of her husband from injuries sustained when he fell down a drain pipe on residential land of the Appellants while working for them as a gardener.  Imagine, how different the situation would be if the appellants were (or were not) insured by the Queensland’s Household Workers’ Insurance policy.

CONCLUSION

For most people that hire ‘cash in hand’ home helpers, the Household Workers’ Insurance is cheap and gives peace of mind.

This is general advice only.  Please contact us if you have any specific questions.