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Calculating Workers’ Compensation Weekly Benefits

Many of our clients ask us how the amount of their weekly workers’ compensation payment will be calculated after an injury at work.

Many of our clients worry that because they’ve only been earning good money for a short period of time, or that they haven’t been in full time employment for a long period of time prior to the date of their injury, that WorkCover will average out their weekly benefits to reduce the amount of a person’s weekly payment.

This is not how it works.

When you make a claim for workers’ compensation, the amount of weekly benefits that you are entitled to be paid by WorkCover Queensland depends on a number of things including the date of your injury, the length of time that you need take off work and whether you are employed under an industrial award. Once those factors are determined, your WorkCover payments are then calculated as a percentage of your weekly wage.

How Much Will WorkCover Pay in Queensland?

Ordinarily your WorkCover payments will be a percentage of your usual weekly wage, including penalties, allowances and overtime. The team at GC Law have put together this guide to help you calculate your potential workers compensation, however we always suggest getting in touch with an expert WorkCover claim lawyer if you are unsure if you are receiving the correct weekly benefits.

So, How is Workers’ Compensation Calculated in Queensland?

The truth is that WorkCover are required to pay the net (after tax income tax) weekly earnings of an injured worker from employment during the 12 months prior to the injury that is continuous or intermittent.

This means that if someone is injured on their first day of work, their workers’ compensation weekly benefits will be calculated according to their wages earned for that day.

But unfortunately that doesn’t mean that WorkCover will pay weekly benefits dollar for dollar of that persons earnings.

There are several factors that affect WorkCover rates in Queensland. The amount that WorkCover will pay is calculated as follows:-

WorkCover QLD Wages Percentage

  • Calculating WorkCover benefits for the first 6 months of your incapacity
    • Your WorkCover benefits will total 85% of your normal weekly earnings[1] or the amount payable under your industrial award – whichever is the greater amount (if your employment is not covered by an industrial instrument, the rate is 80% of QOTE[2]).
    • To calculate WorkCover benefits for 6 months of incapacity, multiply your weekly earnings by 0.8 or 0.85, depending on your industrial award, e.g. ($1,000 x 0.80 = $800).
  • Calculating WorkCover benefits between 6 months and 2 years of your incapacity –
    • Your WorkCover benefits will total 75% of your normal weekly earnings or 70% of QOTE – whichever is the greater.
    • To calculate WorkCover benefits for 6 months – 2 years of incapacity, multiply your weekly earnings by 0.7 or 0.75, depending on your industrial award, e.g. ($1,000 x 0.70 = $700).
  • Calculating WorkCover benefits between 2 years and 5 years of your incapacity –
    • If you can demonstrate to WorkCover that your injury could result in a degree of permanent impairment of more than 15%, your WorkCover benefits will be the greater of 75% of your normal weekly earnings or 70% of QOTE.
    • Otherwise, an amount equal of the single pension rate.
    • To calculate WorkCover benefits for 2 – 5 years of incapacity, multiply your weekly earnings by 0.7 or 0.75, depending on your industrial award, e.g. ($1,000 x 0.70 = $700).

Am I Entitled to Full Pay if I get Injured at Work?

WorkCover are required to pay weekly compensation benefits at a rate of 85% of a person’s net weekly earnings for the first 6 months following an injury, 75% for the following 3 months followed by 70% for the next 3 months.

After one year, payments can drop back to 65% of a person’s pre-accident net weekly earnings.

Income Tax on Weekly Workers Compensation Payments

WorkCover deduct income tax from payments of weekly compensation. WorkCover cannot make other deductions for workers such as compulsory employer superannuation. Some industrial agreements require an employer to continue paying superannuation while an injured worker is off on workers’ compensation but in our experience those types of industrial agreements are few and far between. More information on the situation regarding taxes on workers compensation and personal injury compensation claims can be found here.

When do Workers Compensation Benefits Cease?

Payment of weekly benefits only stops when a person goes back to work, they receive an offer of lump sum compensation, they’ve been receiving workers’ compensation for 5 years or the amount of total workers’ compensation reaches the maximum amount payable.

At GC Law, we’re experts in workers’ compensation claims.

If you need legal advice contact GC Law or visit our Free Case Review page, we’ll review all the details of your case and potential claim first, to determine if you have a good chance of success in claiming a compensation payout. We also offer a no win, no fee arrangement. If you don’t win your case, we don’t charge.

 


[1] Normal Weekly Earnings are the normal weekly earnings of a worker in the 12 months immediately before the worker sustained an injury.  If the worker had not worked for the 12 months immediately before the date of the injury, the normal weekly earnings are calculated on the period in which the worker had the employment.

[2] QOTE (Queensland Ordinary Time Earnings) is the published amount of Queensland full-time adult ordinary earnings declared by the Australian Statistician.

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