Payments when work is not available

If you have some capacity to work and suitable employment is not available you may be entitled to receive weekly payments.

Your insurer will calculate your entitlements based on your situation, including your earnings.

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

Weekly payments if no suitable employment is available

Calculating the maximum weekly compensation amount

If the calculation of the pre injury average weekly earnings is more than the maximum weekly compensation amount, the insurer will use the maximum weekly compensation amount to calculate your payment.

The maximum weekly compensation amount is capped and is indexed in April and October.

The maximum amount from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 is $2058.10 per week.

Payments for the first 13 weeks

For the first 13 weeks where you have current work capacity, your weekly payments are calculated based on whichever is less:

  • 95 per cent of your pre injury average weekly earnings minus the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount (see note below) minus the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and the value of any deductible amount

Payments for 14 to 130 weeks

Between 14 to 130 weeks, where you continue to have current work capacity and are not working because suitable employment is not available, your weekly payments are calculated based on whichever is less:

  • 80 per cent of your pre injury average weekly earnings minus the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and the value of any deductible amount, or
  • the maximum weekly compensation amount (see note below) minus the amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and the value of any deductible amount

Payments for 131 to 260 weeks

If you have some capacity to work you are only entitled to weekly benefits if you work at least 15 hours a week and earn at least $183 per week (indexed annually).

Between 121 to 260 weeks, payments are 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 amount that you have been assessed as able to earn in suitable employment and 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 no work capacity to work which is likely to continue indefinitely, or
  • are working 15 hours or more and earning at least $183 per week (indexed annually), and have been assessed by the insurer as being, and likely to continue to indefinitely be incapable of undertaking further employment or additional work to increase your earnings

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 special arrangements for workers injured at work after retiring age. Our workers compensation changes for workers fact sheet has further information about this.

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).

Payments for exempt claimants

This section only relates to those exempt from the above including police officers, paramedics, fire fighters, volunteer bush fire fighters, emergency services volunteers.

Payments for exempt claimants when suitable duties are not available

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

Section 38 payment for exempt claimants

A section 38 payment may be paid if you are partially incapacitated but 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

Payments for exempt claimants when fit for suitable duties but no suitable duties are provided

If no suitable duties are provided, you will be paid section 38 benefits for a maximum of 52 weeks.

For the first 26 weeks of incapacity you may receive your current weekly wage rate. The first 26 weeks of incapacity includes any period of total incapacity already taken.

Therefore, if you have been totally incapacitated for the first 10 weeks following your injury and you then become fit for suitable duties but no duties are available, you will be paid your current weekly wage rate for a maximum of 16 weeks.

For any remaining period up to a total of 52 weeks, you may receive the greater of 80 per cent of your current weekly wage rate or the statutory rate.

After this, if you remain fit for suitable duties, you may be entitled to weekly 'make up' pay.

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

Current weekly wage rate for exempt claimants

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 their average weekly earnings (including regular overtime and allowances)

Note: The maximum amount, or cap, which can be used to calculate the current weekly wage rate from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 is $2058.10 per week. If your current weekly wage rate is more than $2058.10, the insurer will use $2058.10 to calculate your entitlements. This amount is indexed in April and October.

Statutory rate for exempt claimants

The statutory rate is the amount specified in the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and is indexed twice each year, in April and October. The statutory rate for a single worker from 1 October  2016 to 31 March 2017 is $484.10.

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