Weekly Entitlements from 1 July 2012 - Retail

You work in Woolworths/Safeway, IGA or Coles

Payments under WorkCover are relatively complex. The AMIEU helps members through the system.Weekly payments are based on Pre Injury Average Weekly Payments (PIAWE). Other factors that have a major impact on payments are how long you have been receiving WorkCover weekly payments, and what it says in your medical certificates.

PIAWE is calculated on earnings before the injury. It is the average earnings for 12 months with the employer. This includes the base rates and any production payments.  If you regularly work overtime or a shift penalty, it is part of PIAWE for the first payments.

If your injury was claimed before 5 April 2010, after 26 weeks of weekly payments calculation of PIAWE no longer includes regular overtime or penalties. After 26 weeks PIAWE is base rate (plus production payments).

If you regularly work overtime or a shift penalty, it is part of PIAWE for the first payments. If your injury was claimed on or after 5 April 2010, after 52 weeks of weekly payments calculation of PIAWE no longer includes regular overtime or penalties. After 52 weeks PIAWE is base rate (plus production payments).

The outline, described here, is for injuries that occurred after 12 November 1997. The weekly payments are on a different system for injuries that occurred before that. All figures given here are gross income (before tax).

Make Up Pay
Make Up Pay is payment made by your employer which is the difference between the amount you receive under the WorkCover system and what you earned when you were injured. You are entitled to Make Up Pay in addition to WorkCover payments in accordance with your AMIEU Agreement. Under AMIEU and Coles and Safeway EBAs you get 39 weeks of make up pay.

WorkCover for the first 13 weeks
If you have WorkCover Certificates you are entitled to 95% of PIAWE (up to a maximum payment every week) if you are not working at all. The maximum payment if your injury was claimed before 5 April 2010 is $1470 per week. The maximum payment if your injury was claimed on or after 5 April 2010 is $2000 per week.

If you are working during the first 13 weeks but  earning less than 95% of PIAWE, you are entitled to receive WorkCover to take pay up to 95% PIAWE (maximum of $1470 or $2000 weekly). If you are earning more than 95% PIAWE WorkCover payments don't come into it. The 13 weeks does not get counted down unless there are WorkCover payments.

WorkCover after 13 weeks of weekly payments

After 13 weeks of WorkCover Payments there are changes to entitlements. If you have 'No Current Capacity' WorkCover payments are 80% of PIAWE to a maximum of $1470 or $2000 per week. If you have a certificate that specifies a 'Current Work Capacity', that is you are not capable of pre injury employment but can do some form of duties (alternate or modified), payments are based on a formula that relates to 80% of PIAWE.

The employer must offer you suitable alternative duties if it is at all possible, for at least a year. If you are capable of returning to original employment the employer must return you to your original employment or equivalent employment for that 52 weeks. Employers who do not meet their responsibilities to provide suitable duties could face prosecution.

When you work on alternate duties you are paid for the hours worked. This is called Current Weekly Earnings (CWE). If you work full time there is no WorkCover weekly payment. If you are earning less than the PIAWE there is an additional WorkCover payment. The formula on which the WorkCover payment is calculated is as follows:

80% of PIAWE (to a maximum of $1470 or $2000 per week) is calculated.

80% of Current Weekly Earnings is calculated.

80% of CWE is taken from 80% of PIAWE (or $1470 or $2000 if PIAWE is higher).

The amount from this subtraction is the WorkCover Payment that the worker receives in addition to wages.

If there are no duties provided even though the worker has a 'Current Work Capacity', WorkCover payments are 80% of PIAWE to a maximum of $1300 or $1760 per week.

Don't penalty rates and overtime payments get cut out sometime?
There can be another drop in WorkCover payments. Workers whose pre-injury work was paid on an hourly rate including penalty rates for weekend work and/or evening shifts and those who worked regular overtime before the injury are affected at 26 weeks; if the claim was made before 5 April 2010 or at 52 weeks if the claim was after that.

The payments after this drop is still using the same formula. It is to the same percentage (80% or the 80% formula) but because of the change in the way of calculating PIAWE so that regular overtime or penalty rates are no longer included the amount received can drop. This will affect the meatworkers who work Saturdays and Sundays at Coles or Safeway.

Examples of payments after first 13 weeks:
A butcher's PIAWE (based on base rate that does not include weekend penalties after 26 or 52 weeks) was $832 per week. If totally unable to work, WorkCover payment is $665.60. On the return to work on suitable alternative duties the wages are $400 per week.
The WorkCover payment is: 80% of $832=$665.60
                                       80% of $400=$320 -
                           WorkCover payment  =$345.60

The amount the butcher receives that week is $400 plus $345.60. That is weekly pay of $745.60.

A wrapper's PIAWE was $735 per week. If totally unable to work, WorkCover payment is $588. On the return to work on suitable alternate duties the wages are $300 per week.

The WorkCover payment is:80% of $735=$588
                                      80% of $300=$240 -
                          WorkCover payment  =$348

The amount the wrapper receives that week is $300 plus $348. That is $648.

After 52 weeks
For the firts 52 weeks of weekly payments the Accident Compensation system does not require any payment of superannuation by your employer. For workers whose injury occurred before 5 April 2010 the 9% superannuation payment only ever has to be paid on hours that are worked. However for the workers whose injury occurred on or after 5th April 2010 and who have no capacity to work after 52 weeks 9% of weekly payments is paid into superannuation. This continues while the person has no capacity and is in receipt of weekly payments.

After 130 weeks
After 130 weeks (or 104 weeks if the claim was made before 1 January 2005) most weekly payments are stopped. It is not impossible for payments to continue after 130 weeks but the person has to have No Capacity has to be for the forseeable future, not just current. If it can be proven that there is no chance of the person being able to return to any duties at all, in the forseeable future, the worker may continue to be paid 80% of PIAWE to the maximum of $1470 or $2000 a week.

If a worker has returned to work for more than 15 hours a week (but less than pre-injury hours without any overtime) and current weekly payments are more than $166 per week. This also applies only if the worker is working to their maximum capacity (i.e. they will never be able to work any more than they are) they can apply to have the 80% formula continue to apply.

Indexation
The WorkCover weekly payments are indexed each year, 12 months after the injury. The percentage increase is announced by WorkCover on the first of July each year.