The award rate or mate’s rates?

Key Points:
  • When determining whether there is an employment or contract relationship, it is important to look at all circumstances surrounding the agreement. ​

Picture this, you are a proprietor of a business and your mate has fallen on hard times. To help him out, you let him assist you in your business irregularly doing odd jobs and you give him a bit of money. Will this leave you open to a future workers compensation claim should he become injured?
 
Deputy President Wood was faced with this issue in Richardson v DF Haulage Pty Ltd [2018] NSWWCCPD.
 
The facts of this matter are quite tragic.
 
The worker was a truck driver for many years. Unfortunately, the worker had a stroke and had his truck driving licence suspended.
 
The director of DR Haulage Pty Ltd was a good friend to the worker. He knew he had fallen on hard times. As a result, he offered the worker employment as a truck driver as soon as he is licenced to drive.
 
In the meantime, the worker would go to the director’s premises on occasion and wash trucks. The worker’s wife and son would be present and payment was made with cash or sometimes food.
 
On 14 December 2014, tragically, the worker was killed when he was crushed between the cabin and the wheel of the truck.
 
The worker’s estate brought proceedings to the Commission asserting the worker was an employee.
 
In this regard, DP Wood stressed the principles of Ermongenous v Greek Orthodox Community of SA Inc [2002] 209 CLR 95 in that you need to look at the entirety of the relationship in order to determine whether a worker was engaged in a contract or service.
 
Ultimately, DP Wood concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to suggest the worker was engaged under a contract of service.
 
DP Wood acknowledged there was agreement between the worker and the director. However, she said that this relationship was created through friendship. She said that the worker was paid in infrequently and this would vary between money and food.
 
The worker’s estate has now filed an appeal in this matter.
 
Notwithstanding, this case reinforces the need for employers and insurers to look at the whole picture when deciding an individual is a worker or whether there is intention to create legal relations.

Post by Steven Diakiw and Najeh Marhaba 

Most Popular Articles

Blog

Service of Notices by Registered Post

Where service of a notice is authorised or required by post, unless the contrary intention appears, service will be deemed to be effected at the time when the notice would be delivered in the ordinary course of post: see the various Acts Interpretation acts of the States and Commonwealth.
Blog

Medical manslaughter - The Australian Experience

Medical manslaughter has come into the spotlight in the last week following the recent decision in England to deregister a medical practitioner after she was found guilty of manslaughter in 2015.
Blog

Changes to the way impairment is assessed

From 1 April 2016, there will be changes to the way in which whole person impairment (WPI) is assessed, as the NSW Workers Compensation Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition take effect.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Keeping you connected, Hicksons regularly publishes articles to keep you up to date on the latest developments. To receive these updates via email, please subscribe below and indicate which areas of law you would like to receive information on.

Top