Workers keep mental issues quiet rather than claim compo

Australians are far less likely to claim workers compensation if they see their doctor about work-related depression, stress or anxiety than if they were seeing them about a physical injury sustained at work.

Research has found that in general Australian workers would not make a claim for 22 per cent of visits about work-related issues.

Those seeing a GP about work-related psychological matters would not claim on 45 per cent of visits.

This means people are paying for the visits out of their own pocket or are claiming them on Medicare.

Researchers at the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research and the University of Sydney examined 486,400 GP consultations across the country as part of their research.

ISCRR's chief research officer, Alex Collie said there were a number of reasons work-related conditions were not being claimed.

Dr Collie said not claiming might be more common in some industries than others and may also be related to people worrying about the safety of their jobs.

"It could be that workers are less willing to claim for psychological conditions compared with physical conditions because of potential for stigma in the workplace," he said.

"Different jobs might have different cultures.

"Workers' may also be unaware they can make a workers' compensation claim.”

The research also found that those in major cities and inner regional areas were much more likely to make compensation claims than those in outer regional and very remote regions.

Almost 40 per cent of work-related GP consultations were not claimed in remote regions, compared with 23 per cent in major cities.

Dr Collie said it may not be as simple for people in the country to make a claim as those in cities where they may be able to access an office to make a claim in person.

Workers compensation payouts are overseen by regulators in each state.

Employers pay a premium to the relevant regulator and that money is then used to pay worker's compensation payments.

Dr Collie said those premiums could be higher if people claimed in all the cases they were entitled to.

He said the findings from the research could be used to inform government policies and create awareness of people's rights to claim workers compensation.

The story Workers keep mental issues quiet rather than claim compo first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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