If you drive regularly for work purposes, such as site visits and meetings, you may be wondering does workers compensation cover travel to and from work? Whether an employee is covered for injuries that occur on their way to work and back depends on where they reside. Across most of Australia, workers compensation covers an employee who performs a work-related journey for compensable injuries.
For example, a home care nurse who comes to work in the morning and then from there she travels to a number of clients homes before returning to her workplace. She would be covered for compensable injuries for the journey from the time she left work until the time she returned.
Does workers compensation cover travel to and from work in all Australian States?
Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia
In these states, an employee is not covered for compensable injuries that occur on the way to and from work.
Employees are unable to claim against workers compensation laws if they are injured on the way to work, but they are able to claim through a separate transport accident compensation scheme instead.
New South Wales (NSW)
In NSW, an employee is not covered for compensable injuries for travel between home and work unless the employee can show there was a direct correlation between the employment and the accident where the personal injury occurred.
Some examples of this would be:
• Where a person travels from their place of residence to a client’s home;
• Where a person is directed by the employer to do something work related on the way to work – hence pick up the mail, pick up the milk etc.
• Where the employee drives home after completing a double shift at the request of the employer.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory (NT)
The employee is covered for trips between their residence and their place of work and back, however if they are injured while still on their property on their way to work they would not be covered for a the compensable injury that occurred.
Employees are covered for trips between their residence and their place of work and back however there are number of situations where if they occurred in conjunction with the accident and injury, the injury will not be able to be compensated for.
Also, the employer is not liable if the employee left for work earlier than normal or took a deviation that is not normally taken they may not be liable if an accident happens and the employee is injured.
In most jurisdictions in Australia, if an employee injures themselves while doing something illegal – like burnouts, speeding, taking drugs or drinking while driving – the employer would not be liable.