Volunteer work cover in the village

Voluntary work by residents is a great source of assistance to many retirement villages; however as voluntary workers do not receive wages, they are not covered by Workers Compensation Insurance. This being the case, your scheme operator / management should seek to protect their residents from injuries that may occur whilst helping out. This can be done through Voluntary Workers Insurance.

Who needs Volunteer Workers Insurance? All villages that utilise volunteers should certainly consider taking out Volunteer Workers Insurance. Consider the possibility of any task resulting in injury; it may be simply assisting with some office work, or maybe assisting with the moving of chairs and the like.

Because residents volunteer their time, they may not be eligible for cover under workers compensation: their income, additional domestic assistance costs, or medical expenses may not be covered if they are hurt while working. So it’s important that any voluntary workers in the village are insured against the potential financial burden that injuries can bring them. At the end of the day this responsibility lies with the scheme operator, as they have a duty of care with regard to voluntary work for the village.

Some important Tips:

Check with your scheme operator / management that the village insurance portfolio covers all residents who do voluntary work in the village.

Residents are entitled to inspect or take a copy of the village insurance policies and certificates of currency free of charge. You need to make the request in writing to the scheme operator and they must comply with the date stated in your request, which must be at least 7 days after your request is given.

Age limits are always noted on the schedule of insurance. If any residents are outside these limits ask your scheme operator / management to have these reviewed. The ARQRV is aware that cover is available in Australia up to the age of 90 years

Always keep good documentation of accidents or incidents that may become a claim. Some claims do not manifest themselves for years after the event, so it is important to request witnesses to provide an incident report to be filed with the scheme operator / management and the incident report be filed in the [injured] resident’s personnel file.

The policy is only as good as the limits arranged. Check that the benefits are sufficient

Clearly, there will be various differing circumstances, village to village, regarding the insurance cover held; however, if any member of the ARQRV experiences any difficulty in reaching agreement with their village management, they should refer the matter to the ARQRV, as there should be a simple solution.