Household worker insurance
If you employ a household worker in Queensland, it is compulsory to take out a Household Workers' Insurance Policy to cover you against potential compensation costs if the worker is injured while working for you.
A household worker is a worker you employ solely in and about, or in connection with, your own private dwelling or the grounds of the dwelling. This may include individual sole trader contractors with ABN’s operating their own business
WorkCover Queensland's Household Workers' Insurance policy is $50 for a two-year term. This is a set time frame where all policies have a common end date irrespective of when the policy is commenced.
The premium is not pro-rated, however a reduction of the rate to $25 is applied if the time remaining to the common end date is less than 12 months.
Who should I cover?
Paying workers to help you around the home can make you an employer.
Under legislation you must cover any workers you employ including those employed solely in, or about, or in connection with your primary place of residence or connected property.
Who is considered a worker?
In 2013, the definition of a 'worker' changed to align with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) definition.
Under the Taxation Administration Act 19533 (Cwlth), a worker is 'a person who works under a contract and, in relation to the work, is an employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG schedule 1, part 2-5' (s11 of the Act).
A worker must be an individual. Therefore, if you engage a corporation they will not be considered a worker. The same applies if you have entered into an agreement with a partnership or trust for the services of the worker. Sole traders are however engaged as individuals and may be a worker.
The Australian Taxation Office website provides information on how to determine whether you have employed a contractor or worker.
Who is considered a 'household worker'?
Household workers are employed to work in or around your private place of residence. It is not limited to a particular structure and may include a house, flat, unit, boat or caravan.
Some examples of household workers include cleaners, nannies, baby sitters, gardeners, tradespeople and in-home carers.
Household workers can be employed to work in the grounds of a private dwelling such as the land occupied by and part of the property. It may include a garden, yard, acreage and other immediate surrounds.
A holiday home is considered a private dwelling provided it is not also used as a rental property. Any workers engaged by a landlord to work in connection with their rental property, would not be covered under a Household Workers' insurance policy.
A landlord is required to take out an accident insurance policy to cover these workers. However, workers who are directly engaged by the tenants of a rental property can be covered under a Household Workers' insurance policy.
Your household workers’ insurance policy will not cover workers who are engaged to work for your home business. Operating a business from home does not exclude you from having a Household Workers’ insurance policy. However workers must be engaged in connection with, or in and about, the private dwelling only, and not the business.
What if business activities are conducted in a private dwelling?
You must consider any business activities that are occurring in a domestic residence or its grounds when determining whether a worker is employed solely in connection with a private dwelling.
If a worker is employed wholly or partly in connection with a business, they cannot be considered a household worker and the employer will need to insure them under an accident insurance policy.
The issue is not whether the employer conducts a business but whether the worker is being employed in connection with the business or the residence.
Some people use a part of their house or its grounds to conduct their business activities. This part of the house should not be considered a private dwelling as it is not being used in the sole capacity as a domestic residence.
Examples of business activities that may be undertaken in a part or the grounds of a house include:
- photography studio
- architectural service
- counselling/therapy service
- farming and other rural enterprises.
If a worker is employed to work in an area that is not part of the domestic residence, that person is not a household worker.
How do I take out a household workers' insurance policy?
It's quick and easy to apply online for WorkCover Queensland's Household Workers' Insurance policy.
The policy insures you for a set two-year period. The premium is not pro-rated; however a reduction of the rate to $25 is applied if the time remaining to the common end date is less than 12 months.
The current period of insurance runs from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016.
You will receive a renewal notice in late November or early December 2016. To insure for another two years, simply pay your premium by the due date. If you have ceased employing household workers and do not want your policy to continue, do not make payment and your policy will automatically cancel.
Please call us on 1300 362 128 if you have any questions about your insurance requirements. For more information on our Household Workers' Insurance policy, read our product disclosure statement.
- Last updated
- 17 July 2015