Payments when not able to work

If you have no capacity for work as the result of a workplace injury you may be entitled to receive weekly payments.

The information below is general in nature and the payments you receive may vary based on your circumstances.

Payments for the first 13 weeks

For the first 13 weeks where you have no current work capacity, your weekly payment is based on whichever is less:

  • 95 per cent of your pre injury average weekly earnings minus the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount (see note below) minus the value of any deductible amount

Payments for 14 to 130 weeks

From 14 to 130 weeks of weekly payments, where you continue to have no current work capacity, your weekly payment is based on whichever is less:

  • 80 per cent of your pre injury average weekly earnings minus the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount (see note below) minus the value of any deductible amount

Note: Pre-injury average weekly earnings are calculated by the 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.

Payments for 131 to 260 weeks

Between 131 to 260 weeks, your weekly payments will cease unless you are assessed as having no current work capacity, and this is likely to continue indefinitely. If this is the case, your weekly payment is based on whichever is less:

  • 80 per cent of your pre injury average weekly earnings minus the value of any deductible amount, or
  • The maximum weekly compensation amount (see note below) minus the value of any deductible amount

After 260 weeks (five years) of weekly payments

Weekly payments will cease after five years unless your level of impairment is greater than 20 per cent and you have been assessed by your insurer as having no work capacity which is likely to continue indefinitely,

For all workers, weekly benefits generally cease when they reach Commonwealth retiring age Exemptions may apply for workers who made a claim for compensation before 1 October 2012. There are also special arrangements for workers who are injured after retiring age. Our workers compensation changes for workers fact sheet has further information about this.

Note: The maximum amount, or cap, which can be used to calculate pre injury average weekly earnings from 1 April 2016 to 30 September 2016 is $2042.80 per week. If your pre injury average weekly earnings is more than $2042.80, the insurer will use $2042.80 to calculate your entitlements. This amount is indexed in April and October.

Complaints to the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office

If you are dissatisfied at any stage with the management of your injury, you can contact the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO)

The Workers Compensation Independent Review Office fact sheet contains general information about workers compensation entitlements and procedures. This factsheet is not a detailed explanation of the law as it applies to claims made by individual workers.

Payments for exempt claimants

This section only relates to those people exempt from the 2012 reforms (like police officers, paramedics, fire fighters, volunteer bush fire fighters, emergency services volunteers, coal miners or those making a dust disease claim).

First 26 weeks of incapacity

In general, an exempt worker is entitled to weekly benefits based on their 'current weekly wage rate', before the injury.

Current weekly wage rate for exempt claimants

The payment you receive will be calculated taking into account your current weekly wage 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 average weekly earnings (including regular overtime and allowances).

Payments for exempt claimants when suitable duties are not available

You may receive weekly payments if you are fit for suitable duties, if no suitable duties are provided by the pre injury employer.

Section 38 payments for exempt claimants-partial capacity

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

To be eligible for a section 38 benefit you must be:

  • undertaking rehabilitation or
  • undertaking retraining approved by the insurer or
  • job seeking

Note: The maximum amount, or cap, which can be used to calculate the current weekly wage rate from 1 April 2016 to 30 September 2016 is $2042.80 per week. If your current weekly wage rate is more than $2042.80, the insurer will use $2042.80 to calculate your entitlements. This amount is indexed in April and October.

Statutory rate for exempt claimants

In general, after the first 26 weeks of incapacity, the weekly benefit paid to exempt workers is a fixed rate, known as the 'statutory rate'. This rate is not based on the pre-injury earnings of the worker.

The statutory rate is the amount specified in the 1987 Act and is indexed twice each year in April and October. The statutory rate for a single worker from 1 April 2016 to 30 September 2016 is $480.50.

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