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Payments when working

Recovering at work is the best way to help you get better physically, psychologically and socially.

People who return to work sooner (even if they can’t do all of their usual work at first), have better healing and recovery than people who take a long time off work.

If you can work, but are not able to return to your pre injury employment, you may be able to do other suitable work.

Your employer or insurer can help you find suitable work, which must be in line with your capacity for work.

Your compensation payments when you’re working will be determined by a combination of the factors including the maximum compensation amount, your pre-injury earnings, your current earnings, and the value of any deductibles.

The maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and indexed in April and October. The maximum amount from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 is $2058.10 per week.

Payments for the first 13 weeks

Your weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

  • 95 per cent of your pre-injury average weekly earnings minus your current weekly earnings, or the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount minus any current weekly earnings and the value of any deductible amount.

Payments for 14 to 130 weeks

Where you continue to have current work capacity and are working 15 hours or more per week, your weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

If you are working less than 15 hours per week, your weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

Payments for 131 to 260 weeks

There is no entitlement to weekly payments after receiving them for 130 weeks unless:

  • You (the worker) have completed an application for continued weekly payments after 130 weeks form and sent it to your insurer
  • You (the worker) are working 15 hours or more a week and earning at least $183 a week (indexed annually) and have been assessed by the insurer as being, and as likely to continue indefinitely to be, incapable of doing additional employment or work that would increase your earnings. If you are a worker with high needs or highest needs, you do not have to fulfill the requirement to be working 15 hours or earning at least $183 a week.

Between 131 to 260 weeks, weekly payments are based on the lesser of:

If you have capacity to work but are not working 15 hours or more and earning at least $183 per week (indexed annually) you will cease to receive weekly payments (this does not apply to a worker with high needs).

Payments after 260 weeks (five years)

Generally, weekly payments will cease after five years unless your level of impairment is greater than 20 per cent.

After 260 weeks, weekly payments are calculated based on the lesser of:

Payments for exempt workers and volunteer bush fire fighters or emergency and rescue services volunteers

Different payment arrangements apply to police officers, paramedics, fire fighters, volunteer bush fire fighters, emergency rescue services volunteers.

If you are partially incapacitated following a workplace injury and return to suitable work you will earn income for the hours you work.

If this income is less than what you earned before your injury (eg you are working part time or working at a lower pay rate), then you may also receive a weekly workers compensation payment, often referred to as 'make up' pay.

Make up pay is usually calculated based on the difference between your pre injury earnings (including overtime, shift work, payments for special expenses and penalty rates) and the amount you are earning while in suitable work.

Under legislation, the amount of make up pay cannot exceed the amount you would receive if you were totally incapacitated.

For the first 26 weeks after you first received incapacity payments, this would be your current weekly wage rate and for any later period it would be the statutory rate.

The current weekly wage rate is calculated:

  • for workers paid under an award, industrial or enterprise agreement as 100 per cent of the rate of remuneration for one week of work (excluding overtime, shift work, payments for special expenses and penalty rates) or
  • for workers not employed under an award, industrial or enterprise agreement as 80 per cent of their average weekly earnings (including regular overtime and allowances)

If your current weekly wage rate is more than the maximum weekly compensation amount (currently $2058.10), the insurer will use $2058.10 to calculate your entitlements. This amount is indexed in April and October.

The statutory rate is indexed each year in April and October. The statutory rate for a single worker from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 is $484.10.

The statutory rate applicable to earlier periods is detailed in the workers compensation benefits guide.

Further information

Pre-injury average weekly earnings

Pre-injury average weekly earnings are calculated by your insurer based on information provided by you or your employer and reflect how much you were earning prior to your injury.

During the first 52 weeks of weekly payments, the calculation of pre-injury average weekly earnings includes ordinary earnings plus overtime and shift allowance payments.

After 52 weeks of receiving weekly payments the calculation of pre-injury average weekly earnings will not include overtime and shift allowance payments.

Retirement

A worker is entitled to receive weekly payments for up to 12 months after reaching retiring age. Read our retirement payments page for more information.

Maximum weekly compensation amount

The maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and indexed in April and October. The maximum amount from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 is $2058.10 per week.

Disputes and complaints

Sometimes there can be disputes about compensation.  If there’s a dispute, there’s help available. Our workers compensation disputes section has more information on how we can help.

If you are dissatisfied at any stage with the management of your injury, you can also contact the Workers Compensation Independent Review Officer (WIRO) at www.wiro.nsw.gov.au or call them on 13 94 76.