In the past, anyone injured at work could only claim compensation for their base rate earnings. Overtime and shift penalty rates could not be claimed. This proved to be problematic for some employees as many rely on those extra payments as part of their regular income.
The government has recognised the issue and amended the relevant legislation, establishing new regulations. Together the amendments and the regulations are referred to as the PIAWE legislative reforms.
The Workers Compensation Legislation (Amendment) Act 2018 and subsequent Workers Compensation (Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings) Regulation 2019 have introduced changes to the way a worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) are calculated. The PIAWE legislative reforms are found in the Regulation and commenced on 21 October 2019.
When a worker sustains an injury and they are unable to perform their full pre-injury duties, if liability is accepted, they will be paid a percentage of their PIAWE for a set period. The percentage is generally 80% of their pre-injury gross earnings.
The definition of PIAWE is:
‘The weekly average of gross pre-injury earnings received by the worker during the period of 52 weeks before the injury in any employment in which the worker was engaged at the time of the injury.’
Employees who have been employed for less than 52 weeks will have their average income calculated on their most recent earnings.
The PIAWE legislative reforms are aimed at:
– Increasing transparency in the process of calculating payments;
– Saving time;
– Improving outcomes for injured workers;
– Enabling workers to focus on returning to work;
– Enabling workers and their employers to agree on a payment amount;
– Reducing disputes.
– Workers injured prior to 21 October 2019;
– Exempt workers such as coal miners, firefighters, paramedics and police.
The changes allow for the following gross earnings to be included in the PIAWE calculation:
– Shift work;
– Over time;
– Work vehicles;
– Work related health insurance;
– Work related educational fees.
– Compulsory superannuation contributions;
– Work bonuses.
A PIAWE application must be made within 5 days of notification of an injury to an insurer. The insurer has 7 days to review and approve the application. The insurer can make payments of an agreed amount until the PIAWE application is determined.
The insurer obtains payslips of the worker for the previous 52 weeks immediately prior to the injury and calculates the average gross weekly earnings received by the worker during that period. It will include overtime and shift allowance.
The PIAWE agreement is not a work capacity decision and any final decision made will override the PIAWE agreement. A decision cannot be made before an agreement.
If you have been injured at work and require information about your payment entitlements, contact The Law Office of Conrad Curry.