The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act) states that a worker is a person who carries out work in any capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking, including any of the following:
- an employee
- a contractor or subcontractor
- an employee of a contractor or subcontractor
- an employee of a labour hire company who has been assigned to work in the person’s business or undertaking
- an outworker
- an apprentice or trainee
- a student gaining work experience
- a volunteer – except a person volunteering with a wholly ‘volunteer association’ with no employees (whether incorporated or not).
Others are also deemed to be workers including Australian Federal Police members (including the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner) and Commonwealth statutory office holders.
If a person performs work, but does not do so for a person conducting a business or undertaking, the person is not a 'worker' for the purposes of the anti-bullying laws.
The Fair Work Commission has determined, for example, that a carer for a disabled person who is in receipt of a carer’s payment under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) is not a 'worker' because, even though the carer performs work, he or she does not do so for any business or undertaking. The Department of Human Services which pays the carer’s payment is not such a business or undertaking because the carer’s work is not performed for the Department.