Accident Compensation Act 2001

Accident Compensation Act 2001

ACC Workplace Cover

The Accident Compensation Act 2001 requires that all employers provide their employees with cover for work-related personal injuries.

The purpose of ACC WorkPlace Cover is to provide 24-hour, no fault accident rehabilitation and compensation assistance to those who suffer a “work-related personal injury”.

ACC covers all New Zealanders every hour of every day for personal injuries caused by accident in New Zealand.

What is a “work-related personal injury?

A “work-related personal injury” is an injury that occurs when an employee is either:

  • At a place for the purpose of working; or
  • Having a break from work at the workplace for a meal or a rest; or
  • In a vehicle provided by their employer to transport staff to and from work; or
  • Travelling to/from treatment for a previous work-related personal injury.

The injury can be due to either an accident or a gradual process (eg. hearing loss), disease or infection related to their work.

Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities

  • All employers are legally obliged to have accident cover from ACC for their employees’ work-related injuries.
  • Every employer is also required to comply with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The Act requires that all employers take reasonable precautions to protect employees from injury risks and hazards in the workplace.


  • If an employee suffers a work-related personal injury that requires time off work, their employer is legally required to pay the first week of compensation for lost earnings. This is generally calculated at a minimum of 80% of what the employee would have received if the injury had not occurred.
  • The second and subsequent weeks of compensation for lost earnings are paid by ACC.
  • If an employee has more than one job and suffers a work-related personal injury in their employment, their employer is required to pay for the first week of compensation for all the employee’s jobs.

Motor Vehicle injuries

  • The Accident Compensation Act 2001 places greater responsibility on employers for the safety of employees who drive motor vehicles as part of their work.
  • Employers must pay the first week of compensation for employees injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident.
How do I keep track of an employee’s claims?

When an employee suffers an injury at work the employer will receive a letter from ACC advising that the injury has occurred and whether it is classified as work-related or not.

Each month the employer will receive a claims report that summarises the activity on any work-related claims for your employees during the previous month.

In April and October the employer will receive a report that summarises work-related claims activity for the previous six months.

Employees’ Rights and Responsibilities


  • If an employee suffers a work-related injury they can receive assistance towards the cost of treatment and rehabilitation.
  • They may also be entitled to compensation for lost earnings if they require time off work.


  • To receive entitlements, an employee must provide honest and accurate information to their treatment provider, including how the injury occurred.
  • If an employee needs time off work to recover, they must provide ACC and the employer with a medical certificate (ACC18).
  • An employee will be asked by ACC and the employer to do everything they can to help their recovery and make a speedy return to work.

What are “alternative duties”?

An early return to work with reduced or alternative light duties can greatly speed up an employee’s recovery from injury.

The employer should work with ACC to identify alternative duties or gradually building up the number of hours that an employee works each day.

Under the Accident Compensation Act 2001 employers must take all practical steps to assist an injured employee’s vocational rehabilitation. This applies when the employee is returning to the same job with the same employer (for work and non-work injuries).

What happens when an employee is injured at work?
  • If an employee is injured and requires care, they should visit a treatment provider as soon as possible.
  • The employer and/or ACC will refer them to a treatment provider who is familiar with the employer’s business activities.

The treatment provider wil

  • Treat the injured person and arrange for any follow-up treatment required.
  • Complete an ACC45 claim form.
  • Forward a copy of the ACC45 to ACC. At that point the claim is lodged with ACC.
What can injured employees receive?

Injured employees can receive assistance towards the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation. They may also be entitled to compensation for lost earnings if they require time off work. An injured employee may receive:

  • Fully paid emergency care and ambulance services.
  • Fully paid non-urgent surgery (in some circumstances they may be required to pay part of the cost).
  • Subsidised GP/specialist and other medical treatment such as physiotherapy (while subsidies are provided, there may be additional surcharge costs that need to be paid directly by our employees; these costs can be claimed back.
  • Compensation for lost earnings generally calculated at 80% of their gross earnings (up to a maximum).
  • A tax-free lump sum payment if they are permanently impaired from injuries that occur after 1 April 2002 (the amount paid will be based on the degree of the impairment).
  • Support services such as home help and childcare, to help them while they recover from their injury.
What if the employee needs time off work?

If an employee suffers a work-related personal injury and needs time off work, ACC will contact the employer about the employee’s injury and discuss a rehabilitation plan for getting them back to work.

The case manager is likely to ask about options for “alternative duties” for the employee as part of the rehabilitation plan.

Copies of the ACC Insurance Management Statement are available in the employer’s Business Management System.

It is management’s responsibility to provide all new employees with access to information about their ACC cover including procedures and requirements for lodging claims, providing treatment, handling claims, assessing capacity for work and resolving disputes.

Employees wishing to make an ACC claim must fully complete an ACC 45 form in order to do so. The employer also requires injured employees to adhere to its Policy on accident reporting.

For details on submitting claims refer to the employer’s Injury Claims Acceptance and Management Process.

To access the complete Act click here