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FBEU Notice: Why NSW firefighters have more to lose than most

June 7, 2012

Many members are not aware that, unlike other workers, firefighters have the benefit of workers comp top-up. This means that while everyone else who is off injured drops down after 26 weeks to only $432.50 workers comp per week, firefighters remain on full pay until we return to work.

What if O’Farrell’s attack on workers comp extends to cutting our workers comp top-up?

To give you an idea of what’s at risk, this shows the benefit of workers comp top-up for a Senior Firefighter who is forced off work for 40 weeks (10 months).

Weekly compensation payments with workers comp top-up

 $1,398.22 x 40 weeks = $55,928 (ie, no loss of income).

         Weekly compensation payments without workers comp top-up

$1,398.22 x 26 weeks = $36,353

 $432.50 x 14 weeks = $6,055

Total = $42,408

The firefighter without workers comp top-up is $13,520 worse off!

 

And this is only the effect of workers comp top up. If the O’Farrell Government carries through on its threat to cut out full pay after only 13 weeks then the difference blows out to $26,074 worse off.

O’Farrell is also threatening to cut your current cover for travel to and from work, so if you’re laid up in hospital for 40 weeks after a cycling accident or MVA then forget about workers comp – you’ll be the full $55,928 worse off.

And this is only the impact of O’Farrell’s workers comp changes on wages. The Liberals have more horrors in store, like caps on medical expenses and the automatic exclusion of strokes and heart attacks.

This is serious. All members who are able to do so are urged to come to next Wednesday’s SGM and the rallies which follow.

Darin Sullivan
Acting State Secretary

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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