Migrant Workers and Workers' Compensation in New South Wales

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Considerable mythology surrounds the issues of workers' compensation and much of it focuses on migrant workers from non-English speaking backgrounds. In the context of massive employer pressure to reduce the costs of workers' compensation (to employers), and recent legislative changes aimed at achieving this in most States, it is important to explore the nature of migrant workers' experiences of workers' compensation and the effects of so called 'reforms' on them. This report presents the findings of a year long study of migrant workers' and workers' compensation in New South Wales recently undertaken by the Centre for Multicultural Studies at the University of Wollongong. The study utilised quantitative and qualitative data to explore the incidence of compensation claims among migrant and Australian-born workers and the' experiences of those whose claims are contested and/or who are awarded a lumpsum settlement. Data from existing employer, union and government accident records were analysed and in-depth interviews were conducted with 91 migrant and Australian-born workers to provide a comprehensive picture of their compensation experiences. The report is written from a sociological perspective and empirical findings are explained in terms of the social relations underlying workers' compensation as well as by reference to the bureaucratic and legal arrangements in place at the time of the study. The study was funded by the Social Welfare Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and forms part of a larger project to examine workers' compensation systems and their relationship to the social security system.
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Alcorso, Caroline
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download Reports and Proceedings No 71.pdf 8.17 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
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