Who is a worker?

A worker (for workers compensation purposes) is a person who is engaged to perform work under a contract of service (as defined by the Return to Work Act 2014 (the Act)).

Contract of service represents a relationship formed between an employer and employee but in the context of the Act, the definition of "contract of service" has a much broader application. Self-employed contractors and other persons that meet particular criteria are also 'deemed' workers for the purpose of the Act, including people that work in the following classes of work:

If you contract workers in these industries you may be 'deemed' to be their employer and if so will need to register with ReturnToWorkSA. Each situation needs to be examined on a case by case basis, so if you are unsure whether you  need to register, please call us on 13 18 55.

Read our Who is a worker (DOCX, 307 KB) brochure, or check out our Your work injury insurance  (PDF, 415 KB) booklet for more information.

Interstate workers

In general, workers are covered by the Return to Work scheme if they usually work or are based in South Australia, even if the work injury occurs outside the state. For guidance on coverage for interstate workers, read our Insurance cover for cross-border workers guide or call us on 13 18 55.


Operators in the maritime industry may be subject to the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992, overseen by the Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority.

For more information about the Seacare scheme and whether it applies to you, see the Seacare Authority website.