PIAWE Story and help Needed


The following post regarding a lengthily and ongoing Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings (PIAWE) dispute and question(s) in Victoria was submitted via our “Guest Post” section by “Mad Chef”.

PIAWE Story and help Needed


My PIAWE fight with Allianz

By ‘Mad Chef’

  1. 1st)  It’s been going on for over 2 years.
  2. 2nd) Yep I fully understand how it is calculated- I’ve read everything I have found on it.

Basically I was working for a hospitality place 2 days a week. After they had staffing issues I agreed to work for 6 weeks straight (42 days), until their staff on holidays returned.

During this 6 week period I had an accident (career ending) and could barely work. (2012)

The place closed for business and then changed hands not long after, during my WC Claim being processed.

Here’s the truth folks about PIAWE. I was earning over $800p.w. over the six weeks I was there Pre-accident. My wage assessment (at 80%) according to Allianz was $227

If your boss no longer trades and won’t initially cooperate with WC then you may find yourself in this situation.

The Manager only supplied a few payslips POST accident.

He told Allianz the place was no longer trading and he had nothing more to say and was no longer working there. He was the only point of contact- owner based overseas.

He signed a WC Claim form stating the date I started and the amount I was earning (this was correct).

He gave a statement to a WC investigator (at the beginning of the initial claim) stating when I started and rate of pay and that I had committed to 42 days work. This was correct.

My WC/ Investigator’s forms all said the same.

BUT WC having no proper paperwork and no manager to chase turned this into a living nightmare.

It then basically becomes YOUR problem and a very big and difficult one at that!

I went to Conciliation in 2013- corrupt Conciliator took it off the table because the agent (his mate-they were having a smoke together and laugh afterwards) was unable to answer how my PIAWE had been assessed!

They did agree to back date it by a month but the previous 5 unpaid months was “too bad, you missed the cut off time frame” HA HA

(My lawyer mate who came as my “friend and support person” was disgusted at this).

I wrote to my SCM asking her to explain how PIAWE had been calculated. Please provide documentation that was used. Initially I was ignored, eventually she responded saying I was lucky to get anything and I didn’t deserve it bla f*cking bla.

I wrote to Team Leader, same shit but this time a few payslips POST injury were emailed as proof on how their calculations had been worked out.

I stated it was illegal under the Claims manual to assess POST injury.

Team Leader, “too bad”

I finally received Group Certs from the work place (2-weird eh?) which didn’t add up.

I had my accountant (at great expense to me) submit Stat Dec to ATO for unpaid tax on earnings that the employer had not declared and sort out the tax side. I submitted this back to Team Leader but he refused to accept the ATO Tax assessment.

I applied for conciliation again since it was thrown out last time (it’s 2014 by now).

My rep from ACCS was really good (seriously- older guy- knew insurance companies were scammers). He emailed me a lot of info re-claims manual and also passed on Allianz’s sh*tty emails that were sent to him.

They had accused me of fraud, then of being a tax dodger, then finally they said that I MADE the employer pay me illegally. (I have owned 2 restaurants, hired many staff, paid many staff and I can assure you that an employee never controls the pay negotiations or paperwork).

Allianz refused beforehand and in conciliation to accept ATO assessment. They refused to answer why they had never sorted this with the manager when the place was still trading.

My ACCS rep said,” your pay must be calculated PRE injury. It is illegal to calculate it post-injury due to limited capacity. If you have been there for only X weeks then it is total pay/x weeks gives weekly wage. He calculated my pay and agreed that it DEFINITELY was not $227 pw. There was close to 40K in unpaid wages owing from Allianz.

He told me to take it to top of VWA, gave me contact details, and had great faith that this person would issue a ruling on it and quickly. He said the documented evidence showed it was obvious WC were breaking the rules (law).

VWA- What a F**king Joke. Well they weren’t getting their hands dirty (or doing their bloody job). She refused to make a decision-she also refused to contact my accountant re her questions, she refused to acknowledge that I had answered all of her queries; she refused to pursue why WC was breaking the PIAWE law. She refused to report Allianz over their law breaking.

I finally tracked down my employer (the owner based overseas) after more than a year.

My lawyer mate drafted a couple of letters to him but after 6 weeks (of him telling a different lie each email), I lodged a complaint with the FairWork Ombudsman to force my employer to issue an amended PAYG Summary.

This was my last avenue of hope. Fair Work are just as useless as VWA. Employer refused mediation after stalling for 5 more weeks. FW can’t investigate if the place is no longer operating (too hard basket).

The employer finally said, “he was working here as a contractor and the day after his injury we hired him as an employee”. WTF

I was seriously injured, my knee looked like it had swallowed a football, I was on crutches and could barely do anything, then I took 10 days off as it had become physically impossible to walk!

(Employer, turns out, was “cooking the books” pre-sale of the business- dodgy records from what info I have)

I had a fairly serious meltdown after this and completely fell to pieces. It had finally and completely knocked the fight out of me. It has been all of you here at AWCVD that has got me up off the floor, to fight again- Thank you.

To date I am waiting to go to Magistrates Court after ACCS issued a Notice of Genuine Dispute (2015).

MBB are my Lawyers but have said it would take a year to have it heard. Only 5 court dates a year in this region (Vic). But they would take it to court.

I have been refused Disability Pension as I have more surgeries needed.

Last month I have been given an extra $25 on Newstart Allowance (with certificate of incapacity).WooHoo!

This has cost me my career of 30 years that I loved and everything else in between.

At almost 50 I have no possessions left (sold them all), no self-esteem/ confidence, no way to retrain, no financial independence. I have been living in a friend’s caravan on their farm (they have saved my life doing this and I am eternally grateful) but- no running water/ heating/ limited power for lights for 2+ years. The bathroom is 50mt away up hill and upstairs. I have undergone 3 rounds of surgery in 18 months in these conditions but cannot undergo full knee replacement recovering in a caravan in a paddock.

I have to sort my wages and am dreading the thought of court and Allianz.

Anyone got any advice or had a similar situation?? Love to hear from you.

Mad Chef ([Tweet “Allianz- they really do put the “ARGH” in Allianz…”])

7 Responses to “PIAWE Story and help Needed”

  1. My PIAWE has also been under dispute…
    @Mad Chef do you have bank details regarding pay? This should be enough proof of earnings. ATO can “audit” pay records, and if you were paid by bank transfer the can prove your claim, although seeing as your accountant has lodged your tax with a stat dec I’m surprised they haven’t done an audit….

  2. Report failure to provide payslips to workplace ombudsman.

    Get doctor to submit report that inside toilet needs to be built, and get a quote.

    Whenever you make a complaint provide the evidence – they won’t chase it.

    Hang in there.

    • @Mad Chef, thank you for sharing your story. I am sure you’re not alone re PIAWE ‘discrepancies’. In my own case I was working full time and was paid 1 day study leave by my employer during the 12 months leading up to my accident. A few days after my accident I obtained a Masters (part 1) or post grad dip with 1st class honours (!) and I had just put in a request to go back to full time employment as my studies were completed. BUT workcover calculated my PIAWE based on the few weeks I was working 4 days a week (+ 1 day paid study leave) where the study leave had just expired. In other words I was paid PIAWE based on part time work (4 days a week) even though I actually worked full time 12 mo prior to my injury as I was paid 1 day a week to study. How does that work? To date I have not been able to resolve this issue and it appears that there are quite a few ‘loop holes’ in the legislation, allowing employers and insurers to get away with ‘theft’ basically !!!

      • Hi WCV, it all seems ridiculous, doesn’t it. If you read the claims manual it is all there in black and white. Read FairWork act- same thing (supposedly protection for the employee).
        The real problem is NONE of these organizations will apply the law and no one is overseeing this.
        I meant to say that my rep from ACCS did say when we were outside waiting for conciliator/Allianz discussions, “until Allianz are dragged into court, they will keep doing this and NEVER follow this up or sort it out”.
        My lawyer mate said that the shit fight will start between Allianz and Employer to sort out their story before being in court. Either way my mate said they have all broken federal laws and could be charged in court either by lying under oath or submitting fraudulent WC doc’s and statements.
        I am so glad that I have so much in writing/ texts etc.
        Are you aware that the Magistrates Court only has 5 visits a year from the judge for all WC claims to be heard in Geelong Region (I’m in south west vic). Is that a scam as well???
        I have never been so poor, not even when I was at uni in the 80’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • @Mad Chef, I’m also in the Geelong region… Its apparently twice the wait in Melbourne as it is here…
          In the current sittings there were 80+ cases to be heard (County Court) only one case was heard through the December sittings… Goodness knows when any of us will get heard if the current procedures continue….
          From your comment about the 120km trip for a GP you haven’t had much luck in finding a local one that will take on WC or TAC… Mine has been taken ill and is doubtful he will be able to return to practice. A GP I have been going to isn’t prepared to be proactive in my care and I am now considering the monthly trek to Melbourne.
          On the money issue, I have pretty much raised my kids by myself, (I’m divorced), have always worked/pulled my weight and now am also finding things tight, I am applying for hardship for my utilities and then I will have to sell the family home.. When that money runs out, what next, can’t believe how much rents have gone up…. I have a meeting with Centrelink coming up after which meeting I feel I am going to have to tell my youngest that they have to become independent and move out. 🙁

          • Hi WooWoo, my GP is as local as possible. The Dr in my town (well his narky ex-secretary) decided he wouldn’t be taking new patients that day (2.5 yr ago) so I was forced to go to the next town. My GP hasn’t been particularly pro-active until last week when I gave him a copy of a sh*tty email from SCM. He has totally changed his tune and wants an appointment to write whatever letters I need. I think GP’s in general are really unaware of how we are treated. I mean seriously, none of us believed it until we became trapped in the spiders web.
            Didn’t realise Melb Court scene was so bad, basically it seems to be set up to totally discourage any of us! I finally did the Centrelink thing – got an extra $22 a week. Helps with food but was hoping for real help…ah I am such a dreamer. I am not even sure if it is worth the hassle. My CM at Centrelink did tell me to get a 3 month Dr cert next time (and you them have to get the WC cert as well ) That stops you having to go to stupid appointments every month. Woowoo before you are forced to loose the house, look into drawing out your super (if poss). Why do we have to loose everything before we are eligible for help- it’s bullsh*t.
            Replying to your comment re banking deposits for my wages… that is the problem. They paid everyone properly, in cash (which is totally legal- see FairWork Act, worth reading if having PIAWE issues) they just broke the law in their recording. keeping.
            Maybe we can get the Easter Bunny to go on a WC rampage– bringing us justice for all (and a couple of Easter eggs)

    • Hi CGU Sux- yer I have done the workplace ombudsman. Too hard for them and they said just to take it to court.
      Allianz would never help with improving my living conditions- Sh*t I can’t even get the necessary medical help without months and months of fighting. I wish it was as easy as it is made out. My physio said I need to get a auto car now- no more manual, can’t see that happening ever. I’ve asked for help to retrain but was told about $1000 max is allocated. Problem with the idiots is they want to send me to courses I have already done, (DOH), to send me back to a career the surgeons have said would never be possible again!!! And even worse, I used to run some of those courses – lol.
      AAH, It’s always happy hour at the Allianz run Asylum!