Looking into injuries, work and ACC
Accidents happen. We all know this and accept it to be true. Accidents can happen at home, at work, or in any combination of the two.
In New Zealand, when an accident means you cannot work, ACC helps by paying 80% of your salary. But what is your work required to hold your job open? And what happens to your salary payments then?
The good news is, you cannot lose your job through injury. The Human Rights Act 1993 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations so that a disabled or injured employee can return to work. This means that your employers must investigate all the ways that they can change the job so that you can return; whether this is reduced hours, changed duties, or even simple changes like doing some of the work from home. The bad news is, your employer is allowed to terminate your employment if you can no longer do the job at all. This decision does require a thorough consideration of all factors, however, including all medical evidence, possibilities of return in the future, and how other workers have been treated. The employee is also required to be part of the discussions. There is no absolute requirement that your employer has to hire you in a different positon, but neither are they allowed to simply terminate your employment without a thorough investigation of all the alternatives.
In terms of your ACC compensation, you may find that if you cannot work in any role, you are transferred to the sickness benefit, rather than continuing to receive regular ACC payments. This may be a large or small drop in income, depending on your previous salary. If there is work you can do, WINZ and ACC will try to encourage you to do this. ACC should still generally help with anything you require relating to the original accident, such as equipment and physiotherapy visits, but anything required must be clearly related back to the original accident.
If you feel that you have been terminated unfairly at work, or would like to discuss your employers lack of process, come on down to 16 Market st, Blenheim. If you have a complaint about ACC, it is almost always best to speak to ACC themselves, but if you would like to find out your rights under the ACC scheme and who is best to speak to, we can clarify this for you, as well as helping you to express your complaint in the best way possible.