Employment law partner Warwick Ryan acted for a client with 400 employees in the hotel industry. One of the client’s employees complained of persistent dizziness following a workplace incident and subsequently was absent from work for lengthy periods over the course of a year.
As a result, the employer faced an exorbitant workers compensation premium, based on the insurer’s calculation that after a year of being unfit for work, the equivalent of six years of employee wages needed to be factored into the estimated cost of the claim.
Putting our network to use
As part of his work for this client, Warwick circumvented the slow-moving workers compensation insurer and arranged for the employee to be seen by a specialist doctor who acts for employers in return-to-work matters.
This specialist doctor communicated with the employee’s treating GP and over the objections of the worker, arranged to have the medical certificate modified so that the worker would be obliged to return to suitable duties at his place of employment.
Negotiating with the workers comp insurer
Warwick succeeded in having the employee return to work, initially for four hours per week. This became the basis for further negotiations with the workers compensation insurer, who agreed to subtract the equivalent of four years of the employee’s wages from the premium originally presented to the employer.
Huge savings for the employer
The employee eventually returned to full-time employment. The strategic advice provided by Warwick saved the employer over $200,000 in workers compensation premiums for each of the following two years.
While this was an extreme case, it is not unusual for our lawyers to help employers achieve a reduction of tens of thousands of dollars in their workers compensation premiums. Cumulatively, Swaab’s employment lawyers have saved their clients several million dollars in premiums over the last five years.