Workers compensation: PIAWE top-up on less hours or pay

How much of a worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’ are they entitled to, particularly if they work less hours or receive less pay?

To begin with, your employer must continue to provide suitable work if possible. Your employer may have to modify or reduce the work that you were doing before you were injured until you are back at full capacity.

Importantly, under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 it is an offence for your employer to dismiss you within 6 months after you first became unfit, if you are dismissed because you are not fit for employment as a result of your injury. However, after 6 months your employer is able to terminate your employment if you are still not fit for work.

You must ensure you have a current certificate of capacity completed by your doctor at all times. This will ensure no delays in your payments.

When your pre-injury employer is unable to provide suitable work, you may be eligible to apply for a Work Trial Program. This program provides an opportunity for you to gain work experience and skills for a new job. Under the program a host employer provides you with up to 12 weeks of work experience, while you continue to receive weekly payments from your insurer as well as payment of your travel and essential clothing and equipment costs. If you would like to participate in a voluntary work trial, contact your insurer or your workplace rehabilitation provider, who can help you find a work trial host. Remember if due to your injuries you and your GP believe you are not ready to return to work, you should not agree to participate in a work trial.

If you have some capacity to work, but, find a job with less hours, whether you continue to receive weekly compensation depends on how many weeks you have been in receipt of weekly payments as follows:

1-13 weeks

Your weekly payments will be 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’ (including shift and overtime allowances), minus your current weekly earnings and any other deductible amount.

 

For example, prior to your injury you were earning $800 per week. Your weekly payments would be $760 per week. In your new job you can only earn $300 per week. Therefore, the insurer during the first 1-13 weeks would be required to pay you the difference between $760-$300, which is $460.

14 – 52 weeks

(Subject to the insurer making a work capacity decision)

 

Working less than 15 hours:

Your weekly payments will be 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’ (including shift and overtime allowances), minus your current weekly earnings and any other deductible amount.

For example, prior to your injury you were earning $700 per week. Your weekly payments would be $560 per week. In your new job you can only earn $400 per week. Therefore, the insurer during weeks 14-52 would be required to pay you the difference between $560-$400, which is $160.

 

Working more than 15 hours and earning at least $185 a week:

Your weekly payments will be 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’  (including shift and overtime allowances), minus your current weekly earnings and any other deductible amount.

See the example for 1-13 weeks.

53 – 130 weeks

(Subject to the insurer making a work capacity decision)

 

Working less than 15 hours:

Your weekly payments will be 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’ minus any deductible amounts. Shift allowances are no longer included in the calculation of your weekly payments.

 

Working more than 15 hours and earning at least $185 a week:

Your weekly payments will be 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’ minus any deductible amounts. Shift allowances are no longer included in the calculation of your weekly payments.

131 – 260 weeks

(Subject to the insurer making a work capacity decision)

Working less than 15 hours:

If you are working your weekly payments are calculated at 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’, minus deductibles and your current weekly earnings. Shift and overtime allowances are not included in weekly payments. If you have more than 20% permanent impairment, you are not required to work a minimum of 15 hours and earn a minimum amount to receive weekly payments.

 

Working more than 15 hours and earning at least $185 a week:

Your weekly payments are calculated at 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings ‘PIAWE’, minus deductibles and your current weekly earnings.

 

260 weeks and beyond

At 260 weeks, if you have been assessed as having a permanent impairment of more than 20%, your weekly payments will continue as above.

If you have not been assessed as having a permanent impairment of more than of 20%, your weekly payments will stop.

If an insurer has made a work capacity decision, which you disagree with, you need to get legal advice as soon as possible.

At The Law Office of Conrad Curry we listen, we care and we will strive to get you the outcome you deserve. We have the knowledge and experience to be able to guide you through your claim effortlessly.

Related articles

What happens to weekly payments if I get a new job and it doesn’t work out?

When you can’t keep up with the expected workload due to your work injury  

 

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