Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Stress Leave?

Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Stress Leave

Bradford Legal have dedicated solicitors with experience in dealing with stress-related leave claims, which are on the rise nationally. Stress is a serious health condition that is sometimes not considered serious by employers but it can, in some cases, develop into more serious mental health/mental illness and medical conditions such as depression, stress disorder and anxiety.

If psychological injuries and stress from your job is affecting your personal & mental health, you may be eligible to take a paid Workers’ Compensation Stress Leave.

Stress can severely impact a workers ability to work effectively, often leaving workers feeling overwhelmed and unable to complete even the simplest of tasks. An example of this is an employee being exposed to bullying or a traumatic experience in the workplace. This can lead to poor performance in the workplace and further medical conditions, which adds even more pressure to your already stressed state of mind.

Over time, prolonged stress at work can leave you feeling like taking leave away from work is the only way to feel yourself again and relieve the personal stress & mental health symptoms you are feeling.

Taking stress leave can be sensitive because many people do not feel comfortable talking to their employers about their psychological and mental health. It may also be harder to prove that your mental health issues have arisen due to your work, as these issues arise over time. Every employer should take mental illness very seriously, as they should with any medical health issue or injuries that may arise with employees working at their company.

The expert workers compensation claim lawyers at Bradford Legal can provide legal advice, help you have this conversation and contact your employer for you regarding your claim for stress leave. Call or contact us online for an obligation free consultation.

If you’re still unsure about what stress leave is or the process required to make a claim, take a look at our workers compensation stress claim FAQ section below to learn more, or get in touch with the personal injury lawyers at Bradford Legal today so we can help you with your workers compensation stress leave claim. Your initial consultation with one of our work stress claim lawyers is obligation free.

What is Work-Related Mental Stress?

Work-related mental stress is loosely described as any adverse reaction or psychological injury suffered by an employee when the demands of the workplace are beyond the worker’s capabilities or are more than the worker can comfortably manage. Chronic stress has been found to contribute to numerous physical and mental states of disease, including mental health conditions.

This heightened stress level can affect your ability to work and complete normal tasks. An example of this is being unable to perform daily tasks due to workplace bullying, traumatic events and other factors.

A Workers’ Compensation stress leave can be one of the more expensive Workers’ Compensation claims because it usually involves a long period of claim time or absence from the job. Under law, mental stress is now categorised as any claim where the employee suffered a physical, psychological injury or mental illness due to work-related stress.

Mental stress is subdivided into its causes, such as the following:

Work Pressure: This covers a worker for conditions resulting from work responsibilities, deadlines, workloads, workplace promotion or performance issues, interpersonal conflicts or organisational/management restructure.

Workplace Violence: Including but not limited to: a worker being injured or a victim of or witness to assault, robbery or exposure to other violent events in the workplace/office.

Traumatic Event: Witnessing, suffering or exposure to a traumatic event such as a fatal accident at the workplace and/or office.

Suicide: Any suicide or attempted suicide, regardless of outcome or cause.

Harassment and Bullying: This covers harassment for any reason, including sexual and racial, assault, abuse, injuries, bullying and threats at your place of employment from other employees.

Other Factors: This is a catchall category that may include dietary deficiencies, conditions and diseases such as bulimia or anorexia.

Is stress leave sick leave?

If you are stressed at work and feel like your personal health is deteriorating as a result of this stress and anxiety at work, you could be eligible to make a claim for paid stress leave under workers compensation law. The Fair Work Ombudsman of Australia determines that stress related illness can be taken as sick leave and is treated as per normal sick leave at your company, therefore they should be treated the same by your work place management.

If you’re experiencing work stress at your place of employment and you’re unsure of your rights with your employer, the workers compensation lawyers at Bradford Legal based in Perth, Western Australia can support you. We’ll strive to help you understand more about your situation, how you can take paid/unpaid sick leave for workplace stress and the process of making a claim for stress leave.

Can an employee take stress leave?

If an employee is experiencing stress at their place of employment which is affecting their mental health, they may be eligible to take paid stress leave. Each company has a different policy regarding mental health, so employees need to check their personal rights especially when determining how many days can be taken as paid leave and how many can be taken as unpaid leave.

However, as per the factors and guidelines set out by The Fair Work Ombudsman of Australia, stress is considered an illness and covered by workers compensation claims.

Can employees sue their employer for stress, psychological injury and anxiety?

If employees feel like their stress at their place of employment, mental health and well being have not been taken seriously during their employment by their company, they have the right to claim workers compensation. Your particular situation and the evidence provided will determine if you have the right to claim compensation. Your company or place of work has the right to fully investigate each employees individual circumstances and mental health. You will be required to prove that your work/job/workplace has contributed to your increased level of stress and provide evidence to support this when making a stress claim.

The experienced workers compensation lawyers at Bradford Legal can help support you in understanding your personal rights, work with you to ensure your mental health condition does not deteriorate, provide legal advice and ensure you receive any compensation you may be entitled to from your workers compensation claim. Work related stress leave should be taken very seriously by both employer and employees and therefore it’s important you take the right steps to understand what your rights are.

Our compensation lawyers work with you to ensure you are treated fairly and your mental health is of utmost importance to us. We’ll provide expert legal advice and fight for the compensation you may be entitled to in your claim for stress leave compensation. Call or contact us online to find out more information.

What is WorkCover?

WorkCover is a Government agency that is responsible for regulating the Worker’s Compensation and injury management scheme, ensuring fair treatment for all employees and employers regarding workers compensation.Workcover offer a range of resources and information to both parties as to employer and employee rights. WorkCover also operates a tribunal which resolves or determines disputes between workers and employers/insurers.

Bradford Legal’s highly experienced and leading lawyers will represent you in any dispute that may arise with respect to your workers compensation claims.


If you have visited the websites of other personal injury and workers compensation law firms or seen their television advertisements you will see that a number of law firms offer a no win no fee service or benefits. You will also notice that the term is usually accompanied by an asterisk (*) meaning there are likely to be some significant terms and conditions associated with such an offer.

At Bradford Legal we do not specifically advertise a no win no fee service. This is because we believe that the majority of claims involving workers compensation personal injury claims will result in a settlement outcome that benefits the injured person.

In our view this should not be considered a win as although these outcomes are not necessarily guaranteed in most instances an injured person will be able to obtain a lump sum settlement outcome.

At Bradford Legal we are highly experienced and successful in maximising lump sum settlement outcomes and benefits for our clients.

We are always prepared to offer a reasonable fee arrangement to assist people to achieve the best outcome possible from their compensation claim.

In many instances this will include an agreement not to seek payment of fees in the event that we are unable to achieve a settlement outcome for injuries received. Our experienced lawyers will work with you to determine this arrangement on case by case basis.

Workers Compensation Stress Claim Experts

As experts in personal injury law and workers compensation stress claims, Bradford Legal have handled many workers compensation claims and can help with your claim for compensation. Contact or call the personal injury lawyers today at Bradford Legal based in Perth, Western Australia to find out more information or to start your claim for workers compensation stress leave. Your initial consultation with our expert workers compensation lawyers is obligation free.

Workers Compensation Stress Leave FAQ

How long will a workers compensation stress claim take?

There is no set time as to how long a claim may take.

In the case of stress related illness, insurers are usually reluctant to accept claims of this nature and will often reject the claims or “pend” the claims meaning that they do not make a decision immediately with respect to liability.

If this occurs it may be necessary for a Workcover application to be issued against the insurer and the employer for a determination of liability.

The workers compensation insurer has 19 days from the date that the claim is made to notify you of their position. If the claim is not accepted, is pended or denied then in order to progress the matter a Workcover application is likely to be necessary. If an application proceeds all the way to an arbitration hearing it will usually take between 6 and 12 months for the hearing to take place and a decision to be made.

What is stress leave?

Strictly speaking, there is no such entitlement as “stress leave”. If you are suffering from stress at work which is making you unwell and unfit for work then you may be entitled to take sick leave.

Is stress sick leave?

If you are suffering from a stressful environment at work and it is making you unwell and causing you to be incapacitated for work you may be able to take sick leave or you may be entitled to claim workers compensation benefits.

How to apply for stress leave?

If your stress is making you unwell you may be entitled to apply for sick leave. You would normally do this by contacting your employer and producing a medical certificate from a doctor which certifies you as being unfit for work.

Is stress leave paid?

If you take sick leave having been certified as unfit for work by your doctor due to stress you will usually be entitled to be paid assuming you have accrued sick leave entitlements. Alternatively, you may be entitled to workers compensation weekly payments.

Common issues with stress at workers compensation

There are many issues which arise from stress related claims through workers compensation.

First and foremost, stress is of itself not compensable. The stress needs to have caused a diagnosable medical condition (referred to as a disease within the legislation) before it can be said that you have suffered an injury within the meaning of the workers compensation legislation.

There are also many matters which if they are the whole or predominant cause of your stress in the workplace, are excluded for the purposes of a person being entitled to claim workers compensation.

Insurers are usually very reluctant to accept claims for work caused stress related illnesses.

Who can claim workers compensation stress leave?

Strictly speaking there is no claim available for stress leave. If the stress arises from the workplace or due to the employment and it causes an injury or illness then a worker can claim workers compensation benefits.

There are many matters which, if they are the whole or predominant cause of the stress are excluded from being compensable.

What can I claim?

A workers compensation claim, if accepted provides benefits for:

  • loss of weekly wages;
  • reasonable medical and associated treatment expenses; and
  • reasonable vocational rehabilitation and return to work expenses.

Are there time limits I should know about?

There are always time limits involved in relation to workers compensation and other types of claims. You should seek advice from a lawyer about time limits as different time limits will apply in different circumstances.

What do I have to prove to have a successful workers compensation stress leave claim?

In order to have a successful workers compensation stress leave claim you will need to establish:

  • that your workplace has been responsible for your stress;
  • that the stress has caused you to suffer from an illness (defined as an injury within the legislation); and
  • that the stress has not been wholly or predominately caused by a matter within the workplace which is excluded under the legislation.

We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice in your particular circumstances.

Common types of workers compensation stress claims?

There are many circumstances in which a person may become stressed at work and be entitled to make a claim for workers compensation. These include:

  • overwork;
  • bullying; and
  • being exposed to traumatic events in the workplace.

What is a psychological injury?

A psychological injury is an illness diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist. Such psychological injury may have been caused by stress in the workplace.

Examples of a psychological injury include depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders. In some cases post-traumatic stress disorder will arise.

What is a stress related injury?

A stress related injury is a diagnosable injury or illness which is caused by stress. The stress itself is not an injury.

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