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How to calculate weekly WorkCover payments

Calculating WorkCover weekly benefits or payments can be tricky. There are also some pitfalls, depending on when you choose to attend medical appointments.

Here is some advice if you wish to maximise your WorkCover entitlements.

How to calculate your entitlement

The calculation of WorkCover benefits, or pre-injury average weekly earnings, has been simplified particularly by the current state Labor government in the sense that all shift allowances, penalties, etc., are now included in the calculation.

What do you do?

First, you look at your ordinary time rate of pay and then you add any shift penalties and allowances. You then have to calculate what this amounts to over a period of 52 weeks. This is called your  pre-injury average weekly earnings.

Second, you use this total to calculate your WorkCover payments. So, the initial 13 weeks is paid at 95% gross of your pre-injury average weekly earnings including shift penalties and so forth.

After 13 weeks it drops to 80% gross of the same figure, and then after 52 weeks it remains at 80 percent but the inclusion of shift penalties etc., are no longer used in the calculation for your entitlement after 52 weeks.

Note that this amount represents 52 weeks of aggregate payments not necessarily 52 weeks from the date of injury, because you may go back to work for a time without loss of income, so you may be on and off payments. For example, you may go back to work for three years and then down the track you need time off again, but you still have what I call “weekly payments on the clock”.

A lot of people become very confused about the 52 weeks – and the ultimate 130 weeks where a lot of payments cease. This is because you have an entitlement to 130 weeks of payments. The calculation is not from the date of injury, it’s an aggregate.

Try to have your medical appointments after hours

The other important thing to understand is that, even taking a day off work, or a couple of hours, to attend a medical examination is counted as a WorkCover compensation payment for an entire week. Therefore, what’s really important for people who are at work but need treatment is to try and get your treatment after hours, because even if you take two hours off work to attend your treatment WorkCover will count it as an entire week of income payment.