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How Does WorkCover Queensland Work Out Weekly Benefits During a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

By 24 June 2024News & Articles
How Does WorkCover Queensland Work Out Weekly Benefits During a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A common question asked by those who suffer an injury at work and make a workers’ compensation claim under Queensland’s scheme is how much they are entitled to in weekly benefits under the Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation Act 2003 (‘the Act’).

A number of factors are considered in working out weekly benefits as part of a WorkCover claim, including:

  • the length of time a worker is expected to be off work after receiving a work capacity certificate or other medical assessment of the injury;
  • the date the worker was injured;
  • the date the injury was assessed;
  • the length of time you’ve been receiving compensation;
  • whether an award or workplace agreement covers the worker;
  • what the worker’s wage payments are each week (Normal Weekly Earnings or NWE);
  • the current Queensland full-time adult ordinary time earnings (QOTE).

What information does WorkCover use to calculate weekly compensation?

WorkCover uses information from your employer or from the injured worker to calculate what they normally earn. This is known as Normal Weekly Earnings (NWE). To do this WorkCover will generally ask for:

  • an itemised payroll report from the claimant’s employer covering the 12 months before the date of injury. The report must show each payment including wages, penalties and allowances; or
  • payslips from your employer, or from the claimant, for 12 months before the date of injury (or from the date started, if less than 12 months).

If neither of these records can be provided, WorkCover will also accept tax invoices or bank statements as evidence of earnings for the relevant period. NWE, it should be noted, accounts for penalty rates paid, allowances (other than some excluded allowances), and overtime, but does not include superannuation.

The QOTE is also taken into account in determining weekly benefits. This is a full-time adult’s ordinary time earnings as declared by the Australian Statistician. Each time QOTE changes, the compensation amounts payable to injured workers need to be adjusted, including for weekly payments of compensation, a process that occurs on 1 July each year.

How is weekly compensation worked out?

For claims up to 26 weeks, the weekly benefit payable is the greater of 85 percent of NWW or 80 per cent of QOTE, for those workers not covered by an award or a workplace agreement (also known as the ‘industrial instrument’) – but not more than a person’s normal weekly earnings.

For claims between 26 weeks to 104 weeks, the weekly amount payable is worked out as the greater of 75 per cent of NWE or 70 per cent of QOTE.

For those workers who remain unfit for work after two years, compensation will depend on the degree of impairment. A worker in this situation should seek expert legal advice from an experienced compensation lawyer.

If an injured worker returns to work part-time or on restricted duties, weekly compensation payments may be reduced. WorkCover should be kept apprised of any changes to the claimant’s work status.

Tax will be deducted from the weekly payments, just as when the worker is being paid at work, but deductions are not made for superannuation. The employer may still be required to pay the worker’s superannuation while they are injured, depending on the award or workplace agreement.

Weekly compensation payments will stop when the worker recovers from the injury and returns to work; receives a lump-sum offer to settle the claim; has been receiving weekly payments for five years, or; total weekly compensation received reaches the maximum amount payable.

Uncertain? Contact our workers’ compensation experts

At GC Law, we’re experts in workers’ compensation claims. Bring the details of your claim to us and we can help you find out what you can expect to be paid on a weekly basis while you’re injured, as well as discuss the broader aspects of your claim. Our professionals will provide the right guidance to ensure you’re looked after while you recover.

Get in touch