Sick leave and workers' compensation for police officers in Australia
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In Australia it has been necessary to enact specific provisions into industrial and employment laws to ensure workplace protection and coverage of police officers because at common law police officers have not been regarded as employees. Police unions in Australia have emerged as strong industrial players and have secured a range of terms and conditions of employment which do not apply to the broader workforce. However, the battle in relation to workers' compensation coverage ande extended sick leave seems to be ongoing, particularly in Western Australia. The area of interaction between workers' compensation laws and sick leave entitlements is often neglected against the background of other industrial matters concerning police. This article investigates the entitlements of Australian police officers to these benefits against the historical background of industrial laws. It concludes that there is no uniformity in coverage for workers' compensation and sick leave and that the publicly available data in relation to absence from work of police officers due to sickness are generally incomplete and present challenges for cross-jurisdictional comparisons. The article points to future areas of research into police sick leave.
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