Chrissy Psevdos writes about the impact of South Australia’s new workers compensation system on weekly payments for injured workers.
TGB’s Chrissy Psevdos writes about the impact of South Australia’s new workers compensation system on weekly payments for injured workers.
On 1 July 2015 the Return to Work Act 2014 came into force. It replaced the outgoing WorkCover legislation.
Generally speaking, if you were injured at work under the pre 1 July 2015 (WorkCover) legislation, you were entitled to 130 weeks of weekly payments of income maintenance (unless a determination was made that you have no current work capacity and your payments continue), reasonable medical and like expenses through life and a lump sum if you have a permanent whole person impairment greater than 5%.
For those injured after 1 July 2015 the new legislation provides that an injured worker who is not considered a seriously injured worker (30% or greater whole person impairment) will receive weekly payments for any period of incapacity within the first 52 weeks of their injury at 100% of their notional weekly earnings (less any earnings from employment) and then 80% of their notional weekly earnings if they have no current work capacity, or 80% of the difference between their notional weekly earnings and earnings from employment or self-employment for the following 52 weeks. At the end of 104 weeks payments will cease.
For those who are deemed seriously injured weekly payments will continue whilst they have no current work capacity at 80% of their notional weekly earnings, and for any period when the worker has a current work capacity at 80% of the difference between the worker’s notional weekly earnings and their earnings from employment or self-employment.
Regardless of how long you may have been in receipt of weekly payments, if you have a continuing entitlement to weekly payments as at 30 June 2015 as a result of an injury sustained prior to then, you still have an entitlement to weekly payments of income maintenance from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2017, unless the entitlement is lawfully reduced or discontinued prior to then. The amount of weekly payments that you will be entitled to will be dependent on the amount of weekly payments you are receiving on 30 June this year i.e. 100%, 90% or 80% of your notional weekly earnings.
The new legislation has affected the entitlement to weekly payments but also the entitlement to medical and like expenses once weekly payments cease. The new legislation separates injured workers into two categories, those who are considered seriously injured, and those who are not. If you were on workcover, and haven’t had your injuries assessed for the purposes of determining the degree of permanent impairment, and/or you are contemplating surgery you should consider seeking advice now so as to determine the category you may fit into.
Related: Am I affected by new WorkCover laws?
Now is the time to seek legal advice for your WorkCover claim.
Tindall Gask Bentley is South Australia’s largest workers compensation law firm, and offers free first interviews to injured workers.