What WorkSafe will pay for
The WorkSafe Agent (the Agent) can pay the reasonable costs of child care services for a worker engaged in the care of a child prior to a work related injury or illness, which impacts on his/her ability to provide child care services.
The Agent will periodically review a worker's entitlement to ongoing child care services to ensure that the service remains appropriate and payable under Victorian workers compensation legislation (the legislation).
- Child Care Services refers to duties and tasks that relate to the direct care of a child, such as feeding and bathing, which a worker performed prior to their workplace injury or illness. These services replace the care and supervision of a child whose caregiver has sustained injuries that prevent or limit the normal provision of these services.
- Household Help Services refers to tasks within the primary residence, e.g. vacuuming and mopping floors, gardening, etc. which an injured worker performed prior to the work-related injury or illness. See also the Household Help Services Policy.
- Paid employment is considered by WorkSafe to be income received as a result of work performed in employment. This does not include income received from other means such as a common law damages settlement, or from income protection insurance. Full time employment is defined as working 35 hours per week or more, while part time is defined as working less than 35 hours per week.
What can the Agent pay for in relation to child care services?
The Agent can pay the reasonable costs of child care services where:
- the worker is unable to provide child care as a result of their work-related injury or illness
- the worker requires child care services in order to receive or attend medical or rehabilitation treatment for their work-related injury or illness
- there is an absence of other community and/or family support that might reasonably be expected to provide child care services
What information does the Agent require to consider paying for child care services?
The Agent requires a current request from an injured worker's treating medical practitioner prior to approving child care services. The request of the treating practitioner must document the:
- nature and extent of the worker's injuries or illness
- impact of the worker's injuries or illness on his/her ability to perform child care tasks
- expected duration of the injured worker's incapacity to perform child care tasks
On receipt of a treating medical practitioner request, the Agent will determine the need for an Occupational Therapist (OT) to conduct and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) assessment or a Benefit and Support Service Assessment (BASSA). The OT will consider the following:
- type, frequency, duration and cost (if any) of child care arrangements in place prior to the work related injury or illness
- impact of the work-related injury or illness on the worker's reasonable capacity to provide child care
- the worker's need (if any) to attend appointments for the rehabilitation or treatment of a work-related injury or illness
- whether the provision of equipment or other services may increase the worker's capacity to provide child care independently
- capacity of other family, friends or household members to provide child care
- age, number and specific needs of the child/children to be cared for and the type of child care service required
- numbers of hours and/or days per week that child care services are required and the extent the worker is able to contribute to the child care independently
- period of time the child care services will be required
- the necessity and appropriateness of providing child care services in the worker's individual circumstances
Who can provide child care services?
Child care can be provided as either approved or registered child care services.
All child care providers must be approved by WorkSafe prior to approval or provision of services to injured workers.
Approved child care is an accredited service under the Commonwealth government and licensed under Victorian law because it meets strict criteria.
Types of approved care are Long Day Care, Occasional Care, Outside School Hours Care programs (OHSC), Family Day Care and In Home Care.
Further information can be found at Child care finder.
Approved child care is considered the minimum standard of child care for injured workers and their families.
Registered child care refers to child care provided by an individual registered with the Department of Human Services. This can include a nanny/au pair, relative or friend.
Registered and In-home child care services will only be considered when all other forms of child care have been explored and deemed inappropriate and where:
- an injured worker's injury prevents them from undertaking child care tasks, and
- the family lives in a rural or remote location
When will the Agent respond to a request?
Upon receiving the written service request, the Agent will advise whether:
- the request has been approved
- the request has been denied
- further information is required to make a decision
What are WorkSafe's invoicing requirements?
Refer to the How to invoice WorkSafe guidelines.
What fees are payable for child care services?
Refer to the WorkSafe Child Care Services Fee Schedule.
In relation to child care services, what won't the Agent pay for?
The Agent will not pay for:
- services for a person other than the injured worker
- child care services for tasks that the injured worker did not perform prior to the onset of the workplace injury or illness. For example a worker who had a relative providing unpaid care for his/her child for 2 days per week is not entitled to receive child care services for duties performed by that relative.
- child care services for a child coming into the injured worker's care (i.e. conceived, adopted or fostered) after the workplace injury or illness
- expenses normally associated with caring for a child, e.g. food, nappies or school uniforms
- services for a circumstance not a direct result of the workplace injury or illness. For example, if an injured worker goes on holidays without his/her children, the Agent cannot pay for child care services as the service would have been required regardless of the work related injury or illness.
- any child care service that an injured worker paid utilised prior and continued to use after the work related injury or illness
- additional fees associated with child care services, e.g. excursion fees or meals
- services carried out by a provider not approved by WorkSafe under Victorian workers compensation legislation
- services subcontracted to, or provided by a non-registered provider
- fees associated with cancellation or non-attendance
- services provided outside the Commonwealth of Australia without prior written approval from the Agent
- the cost of telephone calls and telephone consultations between providers and workers, and between other providers, including hospitals
Note: This policy is a guideline issued by WorkSafe Victoria under Victorian workers compensation legislation in respect of the reasonable costs of services, and services for which approval should be sought from the WorkSafe Agent or self-insurer (as the case may be) before the services are provided.