Contesting Workers Compensation – a Guide for Employers and Employees

The workers compensation process is all about the rights and responsibilities of both workers and their employers. The ultimate aim of this is to guide employees who are hurt to work back to gainful employment.

If WorkCover have made a decision that you believe to be unjust, this could disrupt a claimant’s return to meaningful work. That’s why there are processes in place – for employers and employees alike – to both review and appeal a decision. Let’s explore those options now.


What Can Be Contested?

Virtually any decision in the workers compensation process is subject to some sort of appeal. This is especially true of decisions at the preliminary stage of a process – such as an initial ruling on a claim. Some common examples of WorkCover decisions you can review include:


  • The accepting or rejecting of a claim
  • The ending or reducing of compensation payment amounts
  • A failing to make a ruling on a claim within 20 business days of its lodgement


Requesting a Review

The Workers’ Compensation Regular is the independent body through which you can request a review as both an employer and an employee.

In order to start a review you need to contact WorkCover and request a reason for decisions document within 20 days of their decision. This document will give you further insight into the reasoning behind the decision. You will have a further 3 months from the date of receiving the document to proceed with your review.


Legal Assistance for Reviews

Both employers and employees should consider seeking independent legal advice and assistance before their review. Their insights and services surrounding the preparation and submission of your application may assist you.


Appealing a Review Decision

If you are unhappy with the outcome of our review, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) is your next point of contact. You can make an appeal to QIRC within 20 days of receiving the review decision. You can do this by following a simple 7-step process. This process applies to both employers and employees.


  1. Prepare your appeal – this involves preparing a written notice of appeal for the QIRC, explaining the grounds for your appeal.
  2. File your appeal – you can do this in person, by fax, or by post, and it must be filed within 20 days


A. Physical Address: Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
13th Floor Central Plaza 2
66 Eagle Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
B. Mailing Address: Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
GPO Box 373, Brisbane, QLD 4000
C. Fax: (07) 3221 6047 – you should also post the original when faxing


  1. Send a copy of the notice of appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Regulator – this must be done within 10 days
  2. Attend the Commission Callover – on this date you will need to know whether you’re ready to proceed with the hearing, any witnesses or evidence you wish to provide, and also how long the hearing is likely to take. If you haven’t already, you should consider seeking legal advice before this point
  3. Attend the hearing – after the callover a date will be set. The commissioner will hear both sides, including witnesses and evidence, before making a decision
  4. Pay any appeal costs – this includes legal costs, and any other costs the Commission orders you to pay
  5. Appeal to the industrial court – if you remain unsatisfied with your result, you have 21 days to make this appeal. The decision of the industrial court will be fina

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