Published: 07 March 2016
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas
Getting paid the right amount for time off work
Being off work with an injury is both emotionally and financially stressful. It is therefore important that you are getting your correct financial entitlements to help relieve some of that burden.
WorkCover legislation guarantees a percentage of a worker’s pre-injury wage (clumsily called Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings, or PIAWE) continue to be paid during time off work resulting from a work related injury or illness.
For the first 13 weeks after injury, you are entitled to 95% of your PIAWE. Thereafter, you are entitled to 80% of your PIAWE. Your entitlement continues for up to 130 weeks if you are unfit for your pre injury job and until age 65 if you remain unfit for all work.
Your PIAWE is ordinarily calculated by working out the weekly average of what you have earned over the year preceding your injury. But there are exceptions and workers are often unaware as to what further amounts may be included in the calculation of PIAWE.
Some things you should know:
- Overtime and shift allowance is included in your PIAWE for the first 52 weeks off work.
- If your Employer has paid certain benefits in lieu of salary such as residential accommodation, use of a motor vehicle, health insurance or education fees, these monetary amounts are to be included in your PIAWE.
- If you were under the age of 21 or an apprentice at the time of your injury, you may be entitled to incremental increases in your PIAWE.
- If you have received 52 weeks of weekly payments, you are entitled to superannuation contributions into your nominated fund on top of your weekly payment rate.
- If you return to work part time, you may be entitled to “top up” payments.
Note also that the WorkCover Agent usually calculates your PIAWE and weekly payment amount from figures provided by your employer. If you do not think that your PIAWE is correct, you must question it!
Remember, a WorkCover agent is not always right and you can contest their decision at conciliation. See our previous article "You can challenge a WorkCover insurer's decision".