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Weekly payments and current work capacity

What entitlements does WorkSafe pay?

A worker must complete a WorkSafe Worker's Claim Form if they require time off work or medical treatment because of a work-related injury or illness and want to claim WorkSafe entitlements.

Workers may be eligible for compensation in the form of weekly payments as a result of a work-related injury.

Weekly payments

WorkSafe pays weekly payments until an injured worker can return to pre-injury work subject to certain statutory time limits. The payments are highest during the first 13 weeks. Most injured workers return to work well before this time.

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 before the injury. If a worker has been with their 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:

  • a worker's base rate of pay
  • overtime and shift allowances for the first 52 weeks of weekly payments
  • piece rates
  • 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 part of a salary that a worker requested their employer to direct to another party – commonly referred to as a salary sacrifice.

The Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings factsheet provides more information on calculating weekly payments.

Your WorkSafe Agent can advise you how to calculate PIAWE and whether these items are included in the calculation. WorkSafe has developed a form, Calculating Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings, to assist employers to record the information needed to calculate a worker's PIAWE, which is available at WorkSafe.vic.gov.au.

Certain worker entitlements, such as annual leave or long service leave, may also impact weekly payments.

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

Weekly payments are also influenced by the worker's current work capacity. This establishes whether the worker can return to suitable employment, even if it is not the exact job he or she was doing before the injury or disease.

Weekly payments will be impacted depending on whether a worker has a current work capacity (they can do some work) or if they can't work at all.

The table below sets out these entitlements:

Number of weeks

Payments

First 13 weeks

95% of their PIAWE to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week.

14 weeks to 130 weeks

80% of their PIAWE, to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week.

After 130 weeks**

80% of their PIAWE to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week, if they still cannot work and this is not likely to change.

Payments may continue until retirement age unless there is a change in the worker's capacity

Retirement Age

Some current work capacity

Number of weeks

Payments

First 13 weeks

If they have returned to work - 95% of their PIAWE to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week, less what they are currently earning a week.

If they have not yet returned to work - 95% of their PIAWE, to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week

14 weeks to 130 weeks

If they have returned to work - 80% of their PIAWE, to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week, less 80% of what they are currently earning a week.

If they have not returned to work - 80% of their PIAWE, to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week.

After 130 weeks

Weekly payments can continue if:

  1. a worker has returned to work and is working at least 15 hours a week and earning $186** or more a week; and
  2. because of their injury, they are likely to remain physically or mentally incapable of working beyond this level, in any job.

80% of their PIAWE, to a maximum of twice the State average weekly earnings - currently $2150* a week, less 80% of what they currently earning a week.

Retirement Age

Changes to the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation (WIRC) Act 2013

The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act) has been amended to align the definition of "retirement age" to the new eligibility age for the aged pension.

Changes to the eligibility for the aged pension:

Date of birth between New retirement age
1 July 1952 to 31 Dec 1953 65 years + 6 months
1 Jan 1954 to 30 June 1955 66 years
1 July 1955 to 31 Dec 1956 66 years + 6 months
From 1 January 1957 onwards 67 years

These changes take effect on 1 July 2017.

Effect of the changes:

Effect on weekly payments Effect on superannuation payments

A worker may be eligible (subject to other eligibility requirements) to receive weekly payments until retirement age.

For further information, refer to Weekly payments and current work capacity on the WorkSafe website

A worker may be eligible (subject to other eligibility requirements) to receive superannuation contributions on their weekly payments until retirement age.

For further information, refer to Superannuation entitlements on the WorkSafe website.

For information about aged pension payment rates and eligibility please refer to the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

* The maximum applies to those claims made on or after 5 April 2010. The figure is correct at 1 July 2016 - indexed annually.

** Correct as at 1 July 2016 - indexed annually.

In exceptional circumstances, WorkSafe may deduct an amount that the worker would have been capable of earning if they had returned to work.

For calculation of weekly payments for a claim received before 5 April 2010, contact your WorkSafe Agent or the WorkSafe Advisory Service on (03) 9641 1444 or toll free 1800 136 089.

Further information