It seems obvious that if you are injured at work, your employer should pay you for your time off work. However, it’s not that simple. There are some essential steps you must take straight after you are injured at work, to be entitled to weekly compensation. Below, we will explain these steps in greater detail concerning the ACT workers’ compensation process.
The first thing you need to do is to provide your employer with a written notice of your claim (see our earlier article – ‘How to make a workers compensation claim in the ACT’). As soon as you give notice, your employer must start paying your weekly wages. If you skip this step, you can put your claim back on track quickly, but you will more than likely miss out on those early weekly wages.
The next step is to make a formal compensation claim. If you don’t do this within seven days of notifying your employer of an injury, your employer will probably stop your weekly wages. That can be bad enough. However, if at the end of those seven days you haven’t made a formal claim, your employer will stop paying your weekly wages, and you are not entitled to any wages for that period until you make a claim. Some exceptions apply. It is easy to imagine a situation where you forget to make a formal claim for a month or more after your injury. In that situation, you will miss out, and nothing can be done to retrieve those wages.
Once you have made a compensation claim, you are entitled to receive your normal pre-injury earnings for the first 26 weeks following your injury. During this time, the workers’ compensation insurer may decide that your injury is not an injury covered by the Workers Compensation Act 1951 (ACT). If that happens, and you think your injury is related to your work, you should seek urgent legal advice. If the workers’ compensation insurer accepts liability for your injury, you should receive your weekly wages, as long as you are certified unfit (partially or entirely unfit) to work and you provide your employer or its insurer with a compliant ACT Workers Compensation Medical Certificate.
Tip: In order to be eligible to receive your full pre-injury wage, you must not unreasonably reject or discontinue suitable employment opportunities.
Generally speaking, after the first 26 weeks, your weekly wage will drop. In some cases, it can drop to 65% of your pre-injury salary. However, the more you work, the more that percentage will increase towards your pre-injury wage. Calculations of your entitlement to weekly wages can be complicated, but we can help. We are happy to meet with you for an obligation free consultation. All you need to do is provide a copy of your last two payslips prior to the injury. We can take it from there.
It is essential to know that even if you get back to work after your injury, your claim is not over. In most cases, if your injury stops you from being able to work in the future and it is the same injury (or aggravation of that injury), then you are entitled to receive your wages for any time off work.
If you have any doubts about whether you are entitled to weekly wages under the Act, or if you think the workers’ compensation insurer has made a mistake calculating your weekly wages, please contact us immediately.
Your initial meeting with us is free.