Different Workers Comp Payments for different job classifications – Award and Non-Award Workers Under the Western Australian Workers Compensation System
Workers Compensation System for Non-Award Workers
In Western Australia many workers compensation insurers treat injured workers as if they are workers to which an award does not apply.
Injured workers who make a workers compensation claim are often told by the workers compensation insurer that:
- for the first 13 weeks they will receive a sum similar to their pre-injury wage;
- then the injured worker’s weekly payments of compensation will drop to 85% of the amount that they received for the first 13 weeks.
Many workers approach Foyle Legal asking why this is the case. This is the system for “non award workers” under the Western Australian workers compensation system. It has a limited application as we have discussed below.
Workers Compensation System for Award Workers
The workers compensation system in Western Australia is complex and most workers do not know whether they are an award worker or a non – award worker.
Most workers do not think of themselves as an “award worker” because they have an employment agreement with their employer, and the amount they receive is higher than the rate specified in an award relevant to their work. Many injured workers therefore assume that they are not an “award worker” under the WA workers compensation system.
In the case of McMillan v Burrup Fertilisers C12-2011 del. 12 July 2011 it was said
“In my opinion, on the true construction of sub–cl 11(3), a worker‘s earnings are ―prescribed by an award if they are subject to that award, irrespective of whether the contract of employment imports the award into its provisions or was made with reference to its terms.”
In other words, if there is an award that applies to the injured worker’s position then they are subject to that award and are an “award worker”. If there is no award that applies then they are a non-award worker.
While this sounds like an academic distinction the effect can make a big difference to the lives of injured workers. In many situations award workers will continue to receive 100% of their pre work injury wage rather than dropping down to 85%. This can make a big difference to workers and their families over the course of a workers compensation claim which can take years to complete and settle.
Find out more in a video prepared by Foyle Legal:
If you have made a claim for workers compensation in Perth WA and would like to discuss it further you can contact Foyle Legal on 0408 727 343.
Your first consultation is completely obligation free, and we represent workplace injury workers on No Win No Fee basis.