Understanding who is and isn't your worker

Understanding who is and isn't considered your worker for WorkCover premium purposes.


Why this information is important

This information is important to any business owner who employs someone as it affects their WorkCover requirements. If you're a business owner who employs, hires, or otherwise engages with someone who is considered a worker, you'll need to register for WorkCover insurance. How much remuneration you pay will also affect your premium.

Who is my worker for WorkCover premium purposes

Your worker is anyone who works for you, or completes work for you as an employee (this includes any apprentice, trainee, labourer or trades assistant). Your worker may also include a contractor or subcontractor who completes work for you, where that person is:

  • a sole trader
  • a member of a partnership
  • a member, director, shareholder or employee of a company
  • a trustee, beneficiary or employee of a trust


Contractors or subcontractors that are part of an independent business

If you hire an independent business and they provide a contractor or subcontractor to complete work for you, then they or anybody who works for that business would not be your worker. An easy way of figuring this out is to ask yourself:

  • Do I have the legal right to control not only the result of the work, but also what and how the work will be done?
  • Does the contractor's or subcontractor's business depend on me for its existence?

If you answered no to both of these questions, then they would not be considered your worker.

A person looking at a tablet device that is showing the contractor guideline workflow infographic.

Contractor guideline flowchart

A flowchart that assists with determining who is a worker.

Download flowchart

Labour hire arrangements

A labour hire arrangement is when you contract with an employment agency, which then contracts with someone looking for work, in order to provide you with a worker.

In this arrangement, you're a client of the employment agency and so the person working for you would not be your worker.

Unpaid work arrangements

Unpaid work can take place in the workforce in different ways – from vocational placements to unpaid job placements, internships, work experience, and trials. Some of the reasons you may have an unpaid work arrangement at your workplace could be to:

  • give someone experience in a job or industry
  • provide training, skills, and/or work experience as part of formal programs to assist people to find work
  • test someone's job skills
  • let someone volunteer their time and effort if you run a non-profit organisation

If someone is working with or for you in an unpaid work arrangement, then they would not be your worker.

Sporting contestants

A sporting contestant is someone who:

  • participates as a contestant in a sport or athletic activity
  • trains or prepares to participate in a sporting or athletic activity as a contestant
  • travels between a place of residence and the place where they participate as a contestant

In this situation, a sporting contestant would not be your worker.

However, special rules apply if someone is:

  • engaged to participate as a rider in a horse race conducted as part of a race meeting, or official trial, held under the Rules of Racing
  • a jockey or an apprentice jockey who holds a licence granted in accordance with the Rules of Racing and who agrees to do ride work for a trainer licensed under the Rules of Racing

More information

WorkSafe Advisory Service

WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.

1800 136 089 More contact options