We received a very common question from an injured worker regarding the calculation of the entitled Pre Injury Average Weekly Earning, aka as PIAWE, which we will resummarise in this post.
“Hi there, Firstly, what a fantastic site, love reading about other people and there “hurdles”! It’s not such a lonely place after all 🙂
What I would like to know is, at what point do you calculate your PIAWE? My husband was injured in April, but didn’t go off work until August? His weekly payments are soooo off it’s not funny, so I want to know the facts before I make like laxettes and go through a few people!”
Pre Injury Average Weekly Earnings – PIAWE
First of all the amount of PIAWE you are entitled to, including the step down times depends on the state you are located.
Each state/territory and the Commonwealth have separate workers compensation legislation. The principal legislation is supported by regulations. Click on the link for a quick Comparison Workers Compensation Arrangements in Australia and NZ – July 2013 which includes the 2012 workcover NSW reforms.
What weekly payments (PIAWE) will I receive?
Several factors affect and determine the weekly payments you will receive from workcover. These are:
- The amount of your pre-injury earnings
- The level of your incapacity
- The length of time you have received payments
- Whether or not your employer has offered suitable work
- (obviously the state you are located)
In exceptional cases, a shorter period can be used. Commissions, piecework rates and some allowances can also be included. Regular overtime can also be included in the calculation but only for the first 26 weeks of payments.
To continue to receive weekly payments you must continue to supply your employer with medical certificates every 28 days.(unless your workcover insurer has allowed you specifically to provide 3 monthly certificates, i.e. in cases of very severe injuries). Always remember to complete the declaration on the back of the certificate, otherwise you will not get paid and the certifiate will be returned to you
Weekly payment rates in Victoria
** note weekly pay rates have sightly increased in the legislation review of 2010 (so for those injured after 1July 2010), current rates of workers compensation benefits are listed on WorkSafe Victoria’s website ** We have added the new rates between brackets.
For the first 13 weeks
During this period, you will receive 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings if you are unable to work.You may be entitled to an additional payment (called make-up pay) under your industrial award or work contract. If you are able to work in this period your weekly payment may be reduced because of your earnings or in rare cases by the amount you are notionally able to earn in suitable employment. The payments are currently capped at a maximum amount of $1,250.00.(*for injuries after 1 July 2010 to $1930)
After 13 weeks
If you are unable to work at all you will continue to receive weekly payments, but at a lower rate of 75% (*for injuries after 1 July 2010 it is 80%) of your pre-injury earnings. If you are entitled to “make up pay” for a longer period than 13 weeks this may be increased to offset the reduction in your payments. If you are capable of undertaking some work, but are not working you will receive a payment based on 75% (*80%) of your pre injury earnings. If you are working in this period, your earnings will reduce your payment. The maximum part payment you can receive if you are working is $1,250.00 I(*$1930) less 75% (*80%) of your current weekly earnings.
Overtime and first 26 weeks of weekly payments
If you were paid for overtime prior to the injury and were likely to have continued to do overtime during the 26 week period after the injury, you are entitled to receive additional pay in the first 26 weeks. This is calculated by dividing the total of the amounts paid to you for overtime or as a shift allowance (as the case may be), during the 12 month period prior to the injury (or lesser period if you have not worked a full 12 months prior to the injury), by the number of weeks in the same period, which you in fact worked or were on annual, sick or other paid leave.
Partial Payment on Return to Work Before 130 Weeks
If you return to some work but remain partially incapacitated, you will receive a partial payment which is calculated on a very complicated basis. The formula upon which this past payment is based, is as follows:
- 75% (*80%)of your post injury wage is calculated (Your earnings amount)
- This earnings amount is subtracted from 75% (*80)of your pre-injury earnings (this was the basis of your later weekly payments under strict WorkCover provisions which exclude overtime etc after 26 weeks)
- If your pre-injury earnings calculated above exceed $1,250.00 (*$1930) then for this purpose your pre injury earnings are capped at this amount.
- Your payment is the difference between 75% (*80)of your earnings amount and 75%(*80) of your pre-injury earnings amount.
Example of how weekly payments are calculated
Truckie is a truck driver whose pre-injury earnings under the WorkCover formula were $950. 75% of this equals $712. Joel has returned to work earning $600 a week as a taxi driver. 75% of $600 is $450.
The partial WorkCover entitlement is therefore $712 – $450. The partial WorkCover payment is therefore $262 per week. Joel’s total income is $862.00 per week.
(* again for injuries after 1 July 2010 this is 80%)
After 130 weeks (2 ½ Years) (For injuries prior to 1 January 2005 this occurs at 104 weeks -2 Years)
Long-term weekly payments are only payable if you are assessed as having “no work capacity” which is likely to “continue indefinitely”. This test sounds very severe, but the law requires the WorkCover Authority to take into account your age, your employment skills and the state of the employment market in determining if you meet the test. If you meet this test, you will continue to receive weekly payments based on 75% (*80%) of your pre-injury earnings.
If you are assessed as having a capacity for employment, your weekly payments will cease unless you are:
- Actually in employment for more than 15 hours a week, and
- Earning more than $146.00 per week, and
- Incapable of undertaking more work.
If you come within this category, you will receive a partial payment on top of your earnings. You will be entitled to receive the lesser of 75% (*80) of your pre-injury earnings less 75%(*80) of your current weekly earnings or $1,250.00 less 75% (*80) of your current weekly earnings.
Long Term Weekly Payments
Even if you have been classified as having ‘no current work capacity indefinitely’, WorkCover will continually review your entitlement to assess whether you still meet the eligibility for those payments.
If you are accepted as having ‘no current work capacity indefinitely’ into the future, you will continue to receive your payments of compensation until ‘the normal retirement date’ in your industry or age 65, whichever occurs first. Because it is almost impossible to establish the existence of any normal retirement date in a particular industry, it is usual for these weekly payments to be made until age 65.
Where somebody is injured within 130 weeks of the ‘ normal retirement date ‘ (or age 65), weekly payments still continue for the 130 week period. If someone is injured after age 65, they also continue for that period.
A very frequently asked questions about weekly pay
→>My weekly payment rate does not seem correct, what should I do?
Calculating your correct weekly payment rate can be quite complex. The definition of the two components “Pre Injury Average Weekly Earnings” (PIAWE) and the “Normal Number of Hours” take up many pages of the WorkCover legislation.
It is common for a rate to have been incorrectly calculated.
In order to help you determine your correct rate, we recommend the following;
- Try to work out what stage of the weekly payment cycle you are in. Payments are reduced the longer you are in receipt of those payments and overtime is not included after the first 26 weeks. A change in your weekly payment rate could be due to a number of factors but you should always receive written advice about a change. Your weekly payment rate is calculated at the time of your injury based on your past earnings. It is indexed once a year on 1 July. This web site is a good starting point to understand the changes in weekly payment rates that can occur.
- If your payments are being made through your employer, contact your pay office and request details on how you are to be paid and the reason for any variation that may have occurred in your payments.
- If your query is not answered satisfactorily, contact your WorkCover claims agent and ask them to advise you how your weekly payments have been calculated. Specifically ask them to then advise you of the calculation of your PIAWE. Request that they send you a letter setting out the basis of their calculations.
- If you believe the calculation is incorrect, contact your claims agent and request an adjustment in your weekly payment. This is best done in writing – keep a copy of your letter.
- If your request is denied or ignored, you should refer the matter to the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service.
In addition, you may want to read the following great informative ‘FAQ’ resource page (PDF) by lawyers Richmond and Bennison, which also contains a section on PIAWE (Victoria), however the pre 2010 version.
Hope this helps!