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Weekly payments

You may be entitled to weekly payments when a work related injury has resulted in:

  • total or partial incapacity for work due to a work related injury
  • loss of earnings due to the incapacity.

To demonstrate this, you must provide a medical certificate to the insurer. Your doctor can use the workers compensation certificate of capacity for this purpose.

Within 21 days of receiving your claim, the insurer must:

  • accept liability and commence weekly payments, or
  • dispute liability.

The insurer may also require more information from you during this time to make an informed decision.

If the insurer disputes your claim, there’s help available. Our workers compensation disputes section has more information.

Calculating your weekly payments

The insurer will calculate weekly payments based on the following:

  • Average weekly earnings (AWE): This is the average amount you were receiving each week over a period of time (usually the last 12 months of your employment, including overtime and shift allowance).
  • Current weekly wage rate (CWWR): This applies when you are employed under an agreement that fixes a rate for a weekly or longer period. If no such agreement exists, the CWWR is calculated to be 80 per cent of your average weekly earnings.

If you have two sources of employment (another employer or self-employed) the insurer may ask you for more information to assist in correctly calculating your AWE.

The insurer should tell you the amount they will pay. You may receive payments direct from your employer or the insurer within your usual pay cycle.

Weekly payment amounts will depend on, but are not limited to:

  • whether you have total or partial incapacity
  • how long you have received weekly payments
  • whether you have been able to return to work.

Provisional payments

Sometimes the insurer will start paying you weekly payments (and medical expenses) while they fully assess your claim. These are weekly payments under provisional liability. The amount of the weekly payment will be calculated as detailed above.

Provisional payments can include weekly payments for up to 12 weeks, and payment of medical expenses up to $7,500. It extends the time allowed for the insurer to make a decision on liability.

Payments when you are unable to work

During the first 26 weeks

In general, as an exempt worker you are entitled to weekly benefits based on your current weekly wage rate (CWWR) before the injury.

For workers paid under an award, industrial or enterprise agreement, your weekly wage rate is calculated at 100 per cent of your CWWR (excluding overtime, shift work, payments for special expenses and penalty rates).

For those not employed under an award, industrial or enterprise agreement, your weekly wage rate is calculated at 80 per cent of your average weekly earnings (AWE) (including regular overtime and allowances).

After 26 weeks

In general, after the first 26 weeks of incapacity, the weekly benefit paid to you will be:

  • a fixed rate, known as the 'statutory rate' or
  • 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lesser.

The statutory rate is indexed twice each year in April and October. The statutory rate for a single worker from 1 October 2017 to 31 March 2018 is $494.30.

If you have dependent children and/or a spouse, additional payment allowances are also available.

Find the rate for earlier time-frames in our workers compensation benefits guide.

Payments when working

If you are partially incapacitated 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 (for example, you are working part time or working at a lower pay rate), then you may also receive a weekly payment, often referred to as 'make up' pay.

Make up pay is usually calculated based on the difference between your average weekly earnings (AWE) (including overtime, shift work and penalty rates) and the amount you are earning while in suitable work.

Note: The amount of make up pay cannot exceed the amount you would receive if you were totally incapacitated.

During the first 26 weeks

Your weekly payments are calculated as the lesser of:

  • your average weekly earnings minus your actual earnings, OR
  • the weekly amount that you would be paid if totally incapacitated:
    • your current weekly wage rate (CWWR), or
    • 80 per cent of average weekly earnings (AWE) if not employed under an award.

If CWWR is more than the maximum weekly compensation amount (currently $2,101.70), the insurer will use $2,101.70 to calculate your entitlements. This amount is indexed in April and October each year.

After 26 weeks

Your weekly payments would be capped by the statutory rate.

the weekly payment amount is calculated as your AWE minus your actual earnings. This weekly payment amount is capped at the official statutory rate and cannot be more than you would earn if you were totally incapacitated.

The statutory rate is indexed twice a year in April and October. The statutory rate for a single worker from 1 October 2017 to 31 March 2018 is $494.30.

Find the rate for earlier time-frames in our workers compensation benefits guide.

Payments when you have partial capacity for work and suitable work is not available

A weekly payment may be paid if you have some capacity to work, but not full capacity to return to your pre-injury role. This payment may be made if your pre-injury employer does not provide you with suitable work.

To be eligible, you must be:

  • partially incapacitated for work and not suitably employed, and
  • undertaking reasonable steps to obtain suitable employment including job seeking and/or undergoing rehabilitation or training.

If no suitable work is provided, you will receive a weekly payment for a maximum of 52 weeks while seeking employment.

During the first 26 weeks

For the first 26 weeks where you have partial incapacity (including any period of total incapacity already taken), you may receive your current weekly wage rate (CWWR).

For example, if you have been totally incapacitated for the first 10 weeks following your injury and you gain capacity for suitable work but no work is available, you will be paid your CWWR for a maximum of 16 weeks.

After 26 weeks

For any remaining period up to a total of 52 weeks, you may receive:

  • the greater of 80 per cent of your CWWR, or
  • the statutory rate.

After this, if you continue to have capacity for work, you may be entitled to make up pay.

This payment will be based on an assessment of your capacity for work and will most likely be at the statutory rate.