Weekly pay

WorkCover Weekly Payments in Victoria – July 2014

Note

The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (the WIRC Act) outlines the scope of benefits that can be claimed for injuries suffered at work on or after 1 July 2014. Injuries occurring prior to 1 July 2014 will continue to be regulated by the Accident Compensation Act 1985. Where an injury has been sustained because of the nature of a worker’s duties or over the course of their employment, they will be subject to the WIRC Act where they have submitted a claim after 1 July 2014.

The benefits available to injured workers does not really change between the WIRC Act and the former regime.

The major difference between the two laws is the renumbering of sections governing entitlements under the system.

Click on the link for more info about the new Victorian Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (the WIRC Act).

WorkCover pays weekly payments until an injured worker can return to pre-injury work, subject to certain time limits. The payments are the highest during the first 13 weeks.

Weekly payments are usually based on the average of the worker’s ordinary earnings during the relevant period. These are referred to as pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE).

The relevant period for the purposes of a worker’s PIAWE is usually 52 weeks (1 year) before the injury. If you have been with your employer for less than 52 weeks, the relevant period is the period of employment. Periods of unpaid leave and weeks not worked are excluded from the calculation of PIAWE.

PIAWE can include items such as:

  • your base rate of pay
  • overtime and shift allowances for the first 52 weeks of weekly payments
  • casual loading (if you are casually employed)
  • piece rates (tally or production bonus)
  • commissions
  • the monetary value of certain ‘non-pecuniary benefits’ – use of a motor vehicle, residential accommodation, education fees and health insurance
  • the value of any salary sacrifice

Impact of a worker’s capacity for work on weekly payments

Weekly payments are also influenced by your current work capacity. This establishes whether you can return to suitable employment, even if it is not the job that you were doing before the injury or illness.

Weekly payments will be impacted depending on whether you have a current work capacity (you can do some work) or if you work at all.

The table below sets out these entitlements for injuries that started after April 2010:

No current work capacity

weekly-payments-vic-no-work-capacity

Some current work capacity

weekly-payments-vic-some-work-capacity
The maximum payment is indexed on the first of July every year but your weekly payments are indexed 12 months after the date of injury.

Weekly Payments for those injured before the new 1 July 2014 WIRC ACT (or before the April 2010 Amendments)

WorkCover Weekly Payments

Weekly payments under WorkCover vary.
They depend on:

  • Timing;
  • When the injury occurred and the claim was made;
  • Level of Pre-injury Average Weekly Earnings (PIAWE)

For most workers this means the average weekly earnings during the twelve months before the injury. It is calculated at ordinary time rate of pay, and excludes penalty rates, overtime or allowances. Piece rates, however, should be included.

NOTIONAL EARNINGS

Notional earnings are either:

  • Your current earnings; or
  • The weekly earnings the WorkCover Authority believes you could be earning in suitable employment, whether it is available or not.

Usually the Victorian WorkCover Authority takes account of the worker’s current earnings in determining income. If notional earnings is used to mean anything other than current weekly earnings in your case, contact your union, Union Assist or WorkCover Assist immediately.

It is important to remember that, where notional earnings are applied after 13 weeks, compensation paid is the difference between 60% of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) and 60% of notional earnings.

For example, if your pre-injury average weekly earnings were $400, and your notional (current) earnings are $300, your weekly payment would be $240 minus $180.00, leaving a weekly payment from WorkCover of $60 per week. Your gross weekly income would therefore be $360 per week.

Where notional earnings are applied to workers with a ‘serious injury’, the compensation paid is the difference between 90% of pre-injury average weekly earnings and 90% of notional earnings.

INJURY CLASSIFICATION

The classification of ‘serious injury’ only applies to injuries before November 12, 1997. A serious injury is one which involves an impairment of 30% or more to the whole body. The assessment must be in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (second edition). No account can be taken of any psychological injury which arises as a consequence of a physical injury. Primary psychological injury can still be considered eg. post traumatic stress.

CURRENT WORK CAPACITY

You are considered to have a current work capacity if you are not able to return to your pre-injury employment but would be able to return to work in suitable employment. What constitutes suitable employment is assessed by looking at the nature of your injury, the job requirements, your age, education and vocational skills and other factors such as where you live.
Such a job does not have to be available.

NO CURRENT WORK CAPACITY

You are considered to have no current work capacity when you are not able to return to work either in pre-injury employment or in suitable employment.

For claims lodged before November 12, 1997, payments are as follows:

Up to 104 weeks, payments will be either at:

  • 90% (up to a legislated maximum) if you have a ‘serious’ injury; or
  • 70% (up to a legislated maximum) if you have ‘no current work capacity’; or
  • 60% (up to a legislated maximum) if you have ‘a current work capacity’.

Payments after 104 weeks of weekly payments are:

  • 90% if you have a serious injury; or
  • 70% if you have no current work capacity and are likely to continue indefinitely to have no current work capacity.

After 104 weeks if you have a current work capacity you will only be paid compensation if you are:

  • (i) working at least 15 hours per week; and
  • (ii) earning at least $104 per week; and
  • (iii) likely to continue indefinitely to be incapable of undertaking other employment which would increase your earnings.

Weekly compensation payments would be calculated at the difference between 60% of PIAWE and 60% of notional earnings.

If you have a current work capacity and no work, you receive no WorkCover weekly payments.

For injuries which occurred and claims that were lodged after November 12, 1997, payments are as follows:

For the first 13 weeks of payments, they are at 95% of Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings (up to a legislated maximum). If you have returned to work on reduced hours this will be reduced by any current weekly earnings.

Between week 13 and week 104 of payments, they will be either at:

  • 75% (up to a legislated maximum) if you have ‘no current work capacity’; or
  • 60% (up to a legislated maximum) if you have a ‘current work capacity’.

After 104 weeks in which compensation for lost income is paid, payments are:

  • 75% if you have no current capacity for work and that is likely to continue
    indefinitely; or
  • 60% if you have a current work capacity and are:
    (i) working at least 15 hours per week; and
    (ii) earning at least $104 per week; and
    (iii) likely to continue indefinitely to be incapable of undertaking other employment which would increase your earnings.

Weekly compensation payments would be calculated at the difference between 60% of PIAWE and 60% of notional earnings.

If you have a current work capacity and no work, you receive no WorkCover weekly payments.

Problems with weekly payments? Contact your Union or Union Assist or WorkCover Assist (or your lawyer)

26 Responses to “Weekly pay”

  1. Hi,

    Does your piawe go up if you recieve a payrise (yearly with eba) or stay the same as the pay rate before?

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    • @C-Rod, unfortunately you PIAWE stays the same as it WAS before your injury, no matter how much more you may earn afterwards. Let’s say you earned K65 per year before your injury and then went up to K80, then your PIAWE will be based on the K65 (even if your pay increased dramatically as part of suitable duties, different, alternative role).
      The PIAWE= PRE-INJURY AVERAGE WEEKLY PAY = based on the average income you earned during the past 12 MONTHS before your accident/injury/work illness.
      It SUCKS.
      One of us used to earn around K70 before the accident and went on to earn just over K110 after the accident for some years (retraining + management job)… still the weekly payment this injured worker now receives due to total permanent injury and write-off (deterioration injury) remains based on the K70 as before the injury.
      The PIAWE does get ‘indexed’ every year, however it’s a pittance of a couple of dollars extra.(certainly less than $100)

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  2. Thanks for that info, does suck though… but then again so does the whole workcover system, so im finding out.

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  3. Hi guys! Me once again lol. I’ve tried to do some research on what payments I am entitled for with my workers compensation but it all just confuses me more so figured I would ask!

    Before injury I would get take home approx $1300 fortnight.

    Since my injury (28th November 2014) I have received $1087 a fortnight.

    Yesterday I was paid $954 for the fortnight.

    From my calculations my 13 weeks lands on 27th which is tomorrow. Should I have been paid the higher amount seeing as I was on my 13th week? :-/

    My employer has withdrawn suitable duties even though I have only had 2 weeks off during my injury and they have been able to provide me PLENTY of suitable duties this whole time but now … “miracously” they can’t! So I’m obviously required to job seek now. (Not that I know how I am supposed to do that or how the whole process works because no one is really talking to me. so I’m stuck in limbo land. But does it sound right that my pay has dropped to $954?

    Thanks 🙂

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    • @screwed, now would be the time to seek legal advice.. If there is anything you are unsure of you would/should receive advice appropriate for you… It could well be something thing needs to written to your employer, or a letter to your insurer.. Sounds like your journey is about to begin…

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  4. Hi,

    I have been on work cover since last 8 months. I was notified by the employer recently that the business has now shut down and they won’t be able to employ me. I currently don’t have work capacity. Is workcover agent going to continue pay my weekly pay? I have already missed my pay twice.

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    • Contact the VWA or Agent asap and ask them to make you a direct payee.

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    • @Patrick.
      Yes WC have to keep paying your wages. As Barby said you need to be made a “direct payee”.
      Email or write notifying insurer of this, give bank details and tax no. If your employer is cooperative they should have notified them as well. But you will still need to remind them.
      After 2 years of being a direct payee they still tried to occasionally say employer was paying me…WTF
      Once you are a direct payee you can expect to be really stuffed around. You won’t get paid on time and they will “forget you” regularly. Hoping you are being paid properly and can stash some $ for when you are short.
      You need to get you WC cert in BEFORE the old one expires as they can take 4 weeks to process before they pay you- see how the delays work. Best advice is to FAX it direct to CM and file your copy- for when they loose it!
      So far I have been forgotten for all of Dec/Xmas period-twice now.
      No one is accountable and no one gives a shit or helps.
      Also you will have to have any meds/travel etc reimbursed direct to you. Ask them to send out travel reimbursement forms.
      Make sure you mark EACH PAGE with Claim number, date of posting and CM name.
      KEEP A COPY OF EVERYTHING

      Good luck and enjoy the next nightmare
      MadChef

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  5. Hi all,
    I was wondering if anyone had any experience they can share on the time-frames around taking a statutory benefits weekly pay claim to court? My lawyer is slow, barely replies to emails. I don’t know much about the process but I dont know what to ask either.

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    • @ Adam
      News is not good, depending on what court circuit you are on will impact time frame. It depends also on cooperation from Employer in regards to providing necessary material for consideration. Regional areas only seem to have about 5 hearings a year for WC (Magistrates Court). So you and everyone else are all competing for a spot to be heard.
      I have been waiting for over 3 years and have a hearing finally scheduled for this year!
      It seems to be a long slow process and I imagine any wages owed will probably end up with lawyer.
      Patience is the key and having good documentation!
      Good Luck and keep fighting.
      MadChef

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    • Mine is schedule for Melb magistrate court this October. Been 5 year wait for me. workcover lawyers cause delay after delay after delay.

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      • @not happy
        This seems to be the main cause of delays for the court hearings. I have been deferred 3 times due to insurance lawyers not being prepared (and we are only talking about initial directions hearing). Personally I think they should be dragged into court if not ready as we all know it is just their common delay tactics.
        And at the end of the day WE are the ONES SUFFERING!
        Good luck Not Happy, I hope you finally get justice.
        MadChef

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        • @madchef agree workcover lawyers should get one chance and cause one delay for an unforeseeable reason then after that they magistrate should drag them into court and tell them to get their act into gear and told to run the case ready or not. but judges wont do it leaving workcovers lawyers to play their tactics for ever. its to wear you down, leave the injured worker financially destitute and force them to withdraw their claim…Win to Workcover.

          @Adam I think it all depends on what workcover lawyer you get. we can pick our own lawyers but we don’t get to pick their’s so seems to be a game of lotto. depending on what workcover lawyer you draw seems to make a huge difference.

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          • I don’t get how we are meant to survive without working for literally 5 years while these scumbag lawyers delay and delay?

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            • workcover only want to duck shove injured workers onto centrelink. its all cost shifting from workcover scheme to the federal government and tax payers.
              after all if workcover actually had to pay injured workers there would be less money in the scheme for the Worksafe exec’s to pay themselves big bonuses and less money for IMEs and workcover lawyers etc to feed off. its snouts in the trough all the way.

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  6. @Not Happy

    5 years ???
    How is that possible???
    Mine was rejected in August last year, went to conciliation, that was a waste of time so I went straight to a lawyer and it was filed with the court this week (my lawyer says yesterday but who knows). Can it really take another 4 years to get to Court?

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    • @ Adam. Your lawyer has filed for court- Magistrates I am presuming.
      Next step is your lawyer goes to directions hearing to be given a date for court hearing. You won’t get a directions hearing date unless WC lawyers are ready to fight.Once your lawyer gets a directions hearing you will then know exactly when your court hearing date is.
      Then the game begins
      MadChef

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  7. @not happy
    If it’s a lotto to get a decent WC lawyer then I am in all sorts of trouble. CGU are the most incompetent bunch of nitwits I’ve ever dealt with.
    My rejection letter had the wrong date, the wrong claim number, the wrong employer, in fact I think they got my name right. So if that’s them being competent then I’m in for a rough ride

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    • @adam fyi Worksafe allocate the cases out amongst their panel of law firms, not the claims agent. Whom ever the panel law firm the case is allocated to presumably then decides which actual lawyer it is allocated to handle. Don’t think the claims agents really has anything more to do with the case once you start legal proceedings.

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  8. @ mad chef (are you a crazy chef really or a mad aka fully sick chef by the way?)

    Yes he filed in the magistrates court, so I think he said something about it’s usually about 10 weeks from the day they file to the first hearing. Does that sound right?

    I see. So CGU don’t know they’re being sued yet, they find out at the hearing? (Or presumably before). If they want to fight then the court sets a date? Any idea how long that takes?

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    • @ Adam. Hopefully your are based in Melbourne as I think there are definitely more hearings per year. Remember first hearing is only a directions hearing to set out court date and ensure all parties are ready for court.
      Once you get an actual court date then you can start getting excited that something is actually happening.
      Just be aware that court can go against you (as worse case scenario) and could be liable for all court costs. Make sure you have a good understanding of all that’s involved and talk to your lawyer. Normally lawyer (if no win no fee arrangement) won’t go to court unless pretty damn sure of winning.
      Hopefully they will come to sense and settle for you out of court.
      Some good articles in this site about these situations- have a look around here and keep educating yourself
      Chin up
      MadChef

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  9. HELP!

    I am so so so very confused can someone please please please help me try and understand how to calculate my fortnightly payments??

    I have some work capacity and work a few hours per week, so for example if my PIAWE at 80% is $1394 a fortnight ($697 weekly) and my ordinary pay for that fortnight was $650 how much in total would I Receive ?? I’m not sure if my work are paying me correctly but I want to make sure before I say anything.

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  10. @Keikz28
    PIAWE at 80% 1394
    Earnings 80% of 650 = 520
    PIAWE owing from employer $874 (1394-520)

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  11. Hi everyone – does anyone know if the IME doctor can be asked to provide a verbal report to the employer? I am in Comcare and the employer wants a verbal discussion directly after the consultation then the written report later. I wont hear the verbal report, so I don’t want to consent to it – can I do that?
    Thanks, Zoo

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    • @Zoo. Sounds very very unusual and haven’t heard this being done before. I doubt an IME would talk to employer, (check out IME requirements for report writing on VWA site), and the report has to be sent to Insurer. (Did your employer tell you this??). Make sure you request a complete copy of report either under FOI Act 1982 or Health Records Act 2001
      When you sign any forms for the appointment make sure that you note down on form (or tick relevant box) that you do not consent for verbal report to anyone. Also ask the IME when there if they are going to be giving a verbal report and why/who requested this.
      I would advise you to ring WorkSafe and ask them (you don’t have to give personal details to them)
      Check over the claims manual at VWA site.
      Anything they verbally discus would not stand up in conciliation/medical panel or court as it is unproven unless recorded.
      And you can always get a second opinion if necessary. Record IME appointment if possible (subtly) or make notes while there (if you are capable) Note time of starting and length of examination as well.
      It can be a real rush job sometimes.
      Take in ALL your medical reports, scans etc and ask them to consider then in the report and if not for the IME to record that they will not consider material you have taken in.
      Welcome to the merry-go-round in hell’s playground!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Good luck
      MadChef

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  12. Hi Guys

    Adam here

    I wanted to share my experiences on time frames as my case is now over. Thanks for helping me through this tough time.

    So…

    I filled out the claim form for benefits in July 2015 and send to the insurer CGU.

    CGU rejected the claim in August 2015

    I engaged lawyers in Oct 2015. After that they collect a bundle of documents… Medical, tax, everything, create a ‘brief’ and send it to the Barrister in Feb 2016

    The barrister sends court paperwork back and it’s checked over by my lawyers. Around March 2016

    In May 2016 They then send the Statement of claim to my employer, CGU and worksafe vic as well as the Melbourne Magistrates Court

    The defence sends back a notice of defence within 21 days although that took them 6 weeks.

    The court then booked in my First mention for August 2016.

    I had another mention in Oct 2016 and then the hearing was booked for Feb 2017

    On the day of the hearing my barrister ditched me and I had a new barrister who I had never heard of of met before show up. He was getting as much info from me as possible. It was very scary because he’s asking things like what my job was. Keeping in mind, this is THE DAY OF THE HEARING at 10am and my barrister is asking me what my job was. I was not impressed.

    He pressured me to make an offer to the defence which I didn’t want to do but he basically told me we were going to lose. So I made an offer. He came back and said the offer was rejected and we got a judge so we are starting in 1 hour. Go get lunch and see him back at court in an hour!

    That’s the other thing. You’re not guaranteed a judge! Even though you’re booked in, they expect a certain percentage of cases to settle so they only allocated a certain amount of judges. If more cases DONT settle, then it just luck who gets a judge and who gets adjourned to another day. Could be a week, month, 6 months, who knows. I was lucky.

    The hearing started at 2.30 that day and lasted for 6 days. It was absolutely excruciating.

    The judge then took 4 weeks to write up his judgement and hand it down.

    I won.

    All up, from start to finish, it was about 60 odd weeks.

    I hope this answers any questions you might have about timeframes on going to court in Melbourne.

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