Weekly payments

Weekly payments are the compensation payments made when you are injured at work and are unable to return – to compensate for the loss of income during time off work.

The Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme, funded by South Australian employers, pays these weekly payments based on your average weekly earnings (AWE).

The average weekly earnings (AWE) figure is calculated by the claims agent based on the information supplied by the worker and the employer.

It is important that the worker and employer communicate with the case manager to ensure that this amount is calculated correctly.

Weekly payments are made at a rate equal to your AWE with your pre-injury employer during the 12 months before your injury. This average weekly sum is the amount paid under the WorkCover Scheme for the first 13 weeks.

At 13 weeks there is a reduction in payments to 90%, followed by a further reduction to 80% at 26 weeks.

In calculating your pre-injury AWE, your ordinary rate of pay per week is taken into account, in some cases, along with regular shift penalties, overtime, allowances and prescribed non-cash benefits (such as private use of a work motor vehicle).

If you are seriously injured, weekly payments may be paid until retirement age.

If you have a question about how your AWE is calculated or any changes to your payments, contact your case manager to talk about it.

Example

Average weekly earnings (AWE) - $500
First 13 weeks (100% of AWE) - $500
14 to 26 weeks (90% of AWE) - $450
After 26 weeks (80% of AWE) - $400

EFT payments direct to your bank account

WorkCover entitlements – such as weekly payments, cost of medicines or travel to and from medical appointments – are paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT) directly into your account. All details are kept confidential.

Benefits of EFT include no missing or lost cheques and immediate access to your money.

Once your claim is lodged, you will need to provide your bank account details, if you haven’t already done so.

Claims made before 1 July 2008

For claims made before 1 July 2008, the final figure is based on the amount the worker could reasonably have expected to earn if they had not been injured. This includes:

  • basic wages
  • shift allowances (if applicable)
  • overtime (if a regular, established, uniform pattern).

Other income, such as Centrelink payments or bank interest, is not included in this calculation.

Example: Calculation of average weekly earnings

Joe is a builder's labourer who works part-time, as required. He worked fluctuating hours from five to 60 hours per week, but only worked 28 weeks of the year. The other 28 weeks he did not work at all. He injured himself seriously. How were his average weekly earnings calculated?

The Workers Compensation Tribunal decided that the earnings of the 28 weeks he did work should be averaged, and that would form his average weekly earnings amount.

Claims made on or after 1 July 2008

For claims made on or after 1 July 2008 the final figure is based on the amount the worker earned in the 12 months preceding the injury. This includes:

  • basic wages
  • allowances 
  • overtime (if ongoing)
  • superannuation salary sacrifice.

Other income, such as Centrelink payments or bank interest, is not included in this calculation.

Example: Calculation of average weekly earnings

Joe is a builder's labourer who works part-time, as required. He worked fluctuating hours from five to 60 hours per week, but only worked 28 weeks of the year. The other 28 weeks he did not work at all. He injured himself seriously. How were his average weekly earnings calculated?

The Workers Compensation Tribunal decided that the earnings of the 28 weeks he did work should be averaged, and that would form his average weekly earnings amount.

Average weekly earnings calculator

In order to assist the calculating of AWE, we have created an 'Average weekly earnings calculator' which you need to download to your computer. Upon completion either you or your employer should then send to your case manager for consideration.

Please note: the calculator should be used as a guide only.

Before using the calculator, please download to your computer and read the instructions to identify what needs to be included.

Download calculator

What does the calculator do?

It calculates an average of all earnings of a worker over the period of employment up to 12 months preceding the injury.

The calculator is useful when a worker has earned different amounts each week and it is necessary to determine a weekly rate that reflects an average over the preceding 12 months, or lesser period if appropriate. Before using the calculator it is necessary to identify what amounts are included and excluded from the calculations of AWE.

The calculation is made as at the date of the worker's disability and the calculation must be based on the circumstances of each individual claim.

Changes to weekly payments

Your weekly payments may change in these circumstances:

  • If you return to work, either full-time or part-time (note: if you return to work doing fewer than your normal hours, you may get a 'top-up' payment from WorkCover)
  • If you remain off work 12 months after your injury there will be an adjustment of your weekly payments to take into account changes in wage conditions
  • If you do not comply with your obligations as a claimant and your payments are stopped (see worker rights and responsibilities )

When weekly payments stop or are reduced

Your weekly payments can stop (discontinue) or be reduced in these circumstances:

  • If, on the basis of a medical certificate or other medical evidence, your case manager is satisfied that you are fit for work (ie, no longer incapacitated)
  • If you have returned to work either as an employee or a self-employed contractor and your earnings are equal to or above your notional weekly earnings (NWE)
  • If you are dismissed from a job for serious and wilful misconduct
  • If you commit a 'breach of mutuality', which may include not cooperating with a rehabilitation and return to work plan, not performing suitable duties provided by your employer, not providing medical certificates or not attending medical appointments reasonably required by your case manager
  • If you are living outside, or are absent from, South Australia for more than two months in any continuous period of 12 months, without your case manager's consent and your absence interferes with your rehabilitation and return to work
  • If the discontinuance is authorised or required by some other provision of the Act (eg, a work capacity review)
  • If you agree to the discontinuance (eg, you are going on holiday for a set period of time)

Please note that if, after 130 weeks, you are still receiving weekly payments for a work-related injury or illness, your entitlement to weekly payments will be reviewed under a work capacity test (known as a work capacity review). This may result in your weekly payments continuing or stopping.

Things that may affect your average weekly earnings (AWE)

Under the legislation, the claims agent is required to review your AWE at the end of each year that you are incapacitated, and make adjustments based on:

  • changes to general rates of pay according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, or
  • changes to the rate of pay specific to industry in which you were working when you were injured, or
  • changes in award or enterprise agreement rates payable to a group of workers that you were a member of at the time that you were injured.

Your AWE may also be adjusted because of the loss of non-cash benefits such as, for example, subsidised accommodation, food, clothing, car or company phone.

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Did you know?

You are entitled to:

  • choose your own doctor and health providers
  • a second opinion if you don't agree with a doctor's diagnosis

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