What do i do if an employee is injured at work?
A WorkCover Injury claim form needs to be completed and lodged with you (as the employer) when the injury occurred. If a stable employee is employed by more than one trainer and is injured, the WorkCover Injury claim form would need to be completed and lodged with the trainer that they were working for when the injury occurred.
How are an employee's weekly benefits calculated?
The employees’ compensation rate is based on the hours worked by the employee with that trainer for the 12 months preceding the injury, or if the worker was employed for less than a year, for the period of unbroken employment prior to the date of injury. This figure is called the workers Pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE).

An employees’ wages received from other trainers could also be included in their PIAWE figure used to calculate their weekly compensation rate. The worker would therefore receive a percentage of their weekly wages for both/all jobs. This does not mean that any other trainer has to contribute to the workers weekly compensation payment; it is essentially the responsibility of the trainer with whom the employee was injured.
What is there is no employment agreement between a trainer and employee?
In order for a WorkCover claim to be considered, the claimant must be considered a “Worker” as defined under the Workers Compensation Act. Accepting “cash-in-hand” payments without a paper trail will make it very difficult to receive weekly compensation when injured. In short your employees must file a tax return and receive a payslip in order to prove what they have earned and what they are entitled to.
How can i ensure my premiums remain low?
For those trainers who are concerned that their insurance premiums are continuing to rise, the best way to ensure that it remains the same or even reduces is by implementing a “return to work” program for an injured worker - For example a track work rider has a broken arm and cannot ride however they can perform light stable duties such as prepare feeds, wash saddlecloths and towels etc, this reflects well for you as the employer because the injured worker is back to work and receiving a regular wage quicker than if they had to stay at home and file insurance claims against you.
A common form of payment within the horse racing industry is via cash, generally handed over to the stable employee in a weekly instalment. This is common for track work riders. This is a perfectly acceptable way of doing business provided accurate record keeping measures are in place. For example: Copies of invoices for work done (e.g. horses ridden) are maintained and/or a pay stub is provided by you to the worker detailing what tax has been withheld, the number of hours worked, the workers tax file number, the rate of pay, and the total amount received. Failure to do so is against the law.
What deductions can you claim?
  • You can claim the cost of buying, renting, repairing and cleaning occupation-specific clothing, protective clothing and certain work uniforms.
  • Occupation-specific clothing is clothing that is specific to your occupation, is not every day in nature and would allow the public to easily recognise your occupation - for example, riding attire.
  • If you incurred an expense that was both work related and private or domestic, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related portion of the expense.
  • You must be able to substantiate your claims with written evidence such as receipts, if the total you are claiming for expenses, not including claims for car, meal allowance, award transport payments allowance and travel allowance expenses, is greater than $300.
  • If the total you are claiming is $300 or less, you need to be able to show how you worked out your claims but you do not need written evidence.
Insurance types
Public Liability Insurance
When you pay your annual fee to renew your trainer’s license a portion of that payment is paying for your Public Liability Insurance. This type of insurance provides you with legal defense and any legal liability for compensation from unrelated third party bodily injury or damage to property – In other words: If your horse gets free from the stripping stalls at a racecourse and runs onto a public road and causes an accident – You are insured. Another example of this would be if your horse gets away from its strapper in the mounting yard and jumps the fence into the public arena and injures people –You are insured.

Workers Compensation Insurance (WorkCover)
This insurance is a legal requirement for an employer who pays more than $7500 per annum in wages. If you do not pay wages of more than $7500 a year then you are automatically covered by the government for Workers Compensation – However when your employee is injured while working for you, you will be required to pay the first $650.00 (approx) of medical expenses and pay the employee for the first 10 days of time lost from work. This insurance is not part of your annual trainer’s license fee.

Income Protection Insurance
In the event you as the employer/trainer are injured and are unable to work you can receive a wage so that you can continue to operate your business while you are incapacitated. Therefore this insurance may assist you with paying someone to oversee the day-to-day running of the stables/training of horses, or to ensure that you can still pay your rent/feed/operating costs while you are unable to work. Further information regarding this type of insurance can be obtained from the ATA website or by contacting Mike Kirby on 03 9372 1688.

Professional Indemnity Insurance
Professional indemnity insurance protects professionals against claims of negligence made against them by a client. This type of insurance is available to professionals across a range of industries and covers the costs and expenses of defending a legal claim, as well as any damages payable. The definition of 'professional' has broadened in recent years. Due to this, professional indemnity insurance is now held by people across a wide range of industries. Any professional person providing services is regarded by their client as an expert and is therefore open to a claim being made against them. Losing a claim against you can result in enormous costs and expenses. Some claims can take more than five years to settle, leaving a large bill for court costs and legal expenses. Even when successful, defending a claim can be costly.