What happens if I’m not covered by WorkCover?

Quick answer

There are certain situations in which you may not be covered by WorkCover.

These can include when you are:

  • Employed by an employer without workers compensation insurance.
  • A contractor.
  • A sole trader / self-employed.
  • A federal employee.

If you are not covered by WorkCover, or unsure of what cover you might have, talk to one of our lawyers today. We’ll provide free advice on your individual situation, and give you the best chance of securing compensation.

In depth answer

Employers without workers compensation insurance

Though you may meet the legal requirements for an employee, if your employer is uninsured, you will most likely not have a claim under WorkCover. Instead, your claim will fall under the Workers Compensation Act (1987). You will be covered under an uninsured liability scheme, managed by the Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer.


In most instances, WorkCover does not cover claims brought by contractors. You are most likely a genuine contractor if you:

  • Have greater control over your work, which includes accepting and rejecting work.
  • Decide your own work hours.
  • Are brought on for specific projects or certain services.
  • Have an ABN.
  • Pay your own income, tax, GST and superannuation.
  • Use your own tools and equipment.

Sole traders

Sole traders are those people who own their own business and do not have business partners. Since they are not employees, WorkCover does not cover sole traders.

In order for a self-employed person to have a claim, you will need to have taken out your insurance prior to your illness or injury. This insurance can include Income Protection, life insurance, or Total and Permanent Disability (TPD).

If you are registered as a director of your own business, you may be entitled to workers compensation. You are also required to take out workers compensation for any employees of your business.

Federal employees

If you are a federal employee and working for the Australian Government, Australia Post, DHL, the Commonwealth Bank, or a similar company, your work injury is insured by ComCare, rather than WorkCover.

Other claims

In certain circumstances where you are not covered by WorkCover, you may have a public liability claim. Call us today, and one of our lawyers will advise you on the additional claims you may have.

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