The following frequently asked questions provide information to help you with your claim and general understanding of the workers’ compensation and injury management scheme.Making a claim
For more information, see the Making a claim page.
The legal definition of a worker includes full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, piece and commission workers.
Working directors, contractors and sub-contractors may also be defined as workers depending on their working arrangements.
Definition of a worker
The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (the Act) provides a very broad definition of a ‘worker’. It covers:
- full-time, part-time, casual and seasonal workers on a wage or salary
- workers on commission
- piece workers
- working directors (companies now have an option as to whether working directors who have some ownership of the company and are ‘workers’ under the Act are to be insured under the workers’ compensation system)
- contractors and sub-contractors may also be defined as ‘workers’, depending on the circumstances of their working arrangement.
The definition of ‘worker’ may be broken up into two main parts: Primary and Extended.Primary definition
- work for salary or wages
- work set hours of work
- may be terminated/dismissed by the employer
- work for only one employer
- are supervised and controlled.
- are paid on piece rates, hourly rates or per job
- work for the employer on a ‘one-off’ or per job basis
- do not have set hours of work
- work for more than one employer
- work unsupervised
- pay 20 per cent prescribed payments (sub-contractor’s tax).
A ‘worker’ may also include any person who is covered by an industrial award or agreement.
For more information, refer to the publication on contractors and workers’ compensation or call our Advice & Assistance line on 1300 794 744.
If your employer is a self-insurer there are 17 days to make a decision on the claim.
For more information, see the Making a claim page.
If you are unable to work while the claim is being processed, you can use your sick leave (make sure the lost time is covered by a certificate of capacity) and this must be re-credited to you if your claim is accepted.
The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 was amended in October 2011 to remove all age based restrictions on entitlements.
The changes apply prospectively to injuries occurring after 1 October 2011. The changes to the Act mean injured workers aged 65 years and older are able to access workers’ compensation on the same terms as all other injured workers.
Generally, travel between a worker’s residence and place of employment is not covered.
A worker may be covered if they are injured whilst travelling under instruction from their employer in the course of their work, for educational purposes, or to attend at a place for treatment of a workers’ compensation injury.
A volunteer generally does not fall under the definition of a worker under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
You are encouraged to check that the business or organisation you are doing volunteer work for has a suitable insurance policy that will cover you in the event an injury occurs.
For more information, please call our Advice and Assistance line on 1300 794 744.
- any over award or service payments
- overtime, bonuses and allowances averaged over the 13 weeks prior to the incapacity.
From week 14 onwards you will receive your award rate of pay plus:
- any over award or service payment paid on a regular basis
- any allowance paid on a regular basis and related to the number and pattern of hours worked
- any other allowance prescribed by the regulations.
Note: Overtime, bonuses and any other allowances are excluded.
If you are a non award worker, for the first 13 weeks you receive your average weekly earnings plus overtime, bonuses and allowances averaged over the 12 months prior to the incapacity.
From week 14 onwards you receive 85 per cent of your average weekly earnings.
Limit to entitlement
There is a limit that applies to your weekly payments while you are on workers’ compensation. The maximum weekly amount you can receive is set at two times the WA ‘average weekly earnings’ as calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The maximum amount is indexed on 1 July each year.
Reasonable medical expenses include:
- First aid and ambulance
- Medical or surgical attendance
- Treatment by specialists
- Charges for hospital treatment
- Other approved treatment (including osteopathy, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, speech pathology, exercise physiology).
Not all medical practitioners and allied health providers charge according to the scheduled workers’ compensation fees, so it is important to ask your health provider about any potential gap payments prior to making an appointment.
You may claim reasonable travel costs, for instance, for trips to medical appointments. This is best arranged through your employer’s insurer.
For workers in regional areas, this may also include reasonable meals and accommodation expenses.
It is recommended that you keep a record of your travel by recording vehicle kilometres, appointment times and dates and public transport receipts. The amount payable for travel, meals and accommodation expenses is limited. See the Expenses page to find out more.
As with all correspondence, it is important to keep and file copies for your own reference.
If you do not receive your weekly compensation payments in this manner, you should:
Speak to your employer
Advise your employer that you have not received your weekly payments and check if there is an issue or a delay in making your weekly payments.
Speak to your employer’s insurer
If you cannot resolve the issue with your employer, you should contact your employer’s insurer to discuss your concerns and to seek their assistance in resolving the issue.
Record the date and time of each contact you make, and attempt to make, with your employer and their insurer.
Contact WorkCover WA’s Advice and Assistance
If you have attempted to resolve the issue with your employer and their insurer without success, contact WorkCover WA’s Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744 for further advice and assistance.
Refer to the Loss of wages page for details about how your workers’ compensation wage is calculated, and then contact WorkCover WA’s Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744 if you have further queries.
For workers in regional areas, reasonable costs may also include reasonable meal and accommodation expenses.
Your travel arrangements are best made through your employer’s insurer. It is recommended that you keep a record of your travel by recording vehicle kilometres, appointment times and dates and public transport receipts. The amount payable for travel, meals and accommodation expenses is limited. See the Expenses page for more details.
The Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 provides that weekly compensation payments are payable notwithstanding any other entitlement to annual leave or long service leave.
You are not required to agree to cease your weekly payments if you take long service leave or annual leave.
You cannot take sick leave while in receipt of weekly compensation payments.
WorkCover WA is unable to provide advice regarding accrual of annual leave, long service leave or sick leave while in receipt of workers’ compensation payments.
You may contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 for assistance or view the information provided on their website.
However, the employer must complete a ‘notice of intention to dismiss’, provide 28 days’ notice, advise WorkCover WA and provide you with a copy of the notice.
An employer is still required to keep an injured worker’s original position open or provide an alternative position if it is reasonable. Your workers’ compensation entitlements can continue if you are dismissed.
Your active participation is essential to successful injury management. It is important that you take an active role in your Return to Work Program and make reasonable efforts to return to work.
For more information, see the Returning to work page.
Workplace rehabilitation providers have the qualifications, experience and expertise to maintain injured workers at work, or return them to work following an injury.
The costs of their services are covered within your workers’ compensation claim. Find out more about their services on the Workplace rehabilitation providers page.
For more information, see the Hearing loss page.
Any workers who receive noise above the peak exposure of 140dB(in) on one or more occasions, even for a short time, will also require testing (approximately equal to the peak noise level from a mid to high calibre firearm at the user’s ear).
For more information, see the Hearing loss page.
Benefits, including lump sum compensation payments, are available to workers who sustain permanent physical or psychological impairment as a result of their work-related injuries. Eligibility for compensation, including the total amounts claimable, is based on an evaluation of a worker’s permanent impairment, by an approved medical specialist.
For more information, see the Permanent impairment page.
The paperwork must then be lodged with Workers’ Compensation Conciliation Service. The Conciliation Service reviews and records the details of your settlement.
There are two types of settlement options available in the workers’ compensation system – a statutory settlement (Memorandum of Agreement) and a common law settlement (s.92(f) Deed).
Each settlement option has different criteria and you can read more about qualifying for these on the Settlements page.
Acceptance of a settlement may affect your entitlement to Centrelink benefits, so it is important to contact Centrelink before making a final decision on accepting a settlement.
Pursuing a common law claim may affect your workers’ compensation entitlements, so it is strongly recommended that you seek independent legal advice before making a decision.
For more information, see the Common law claims page.
For more information, see the Appeal court decisions page.