WorkCover make up pay – how it works

Graphic that explains how workcover make up pay works

As you may have read on other articles on our website, WorkCover weekly payments are not paid at 100% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings.

Weekly payments commence at 95% of your pre injury earnings and later on drop down to 80%.

The WorkCover insurer will not pay you full wages (you can read more about that on this page).

Can an injured worker make up the difference between their pre-injury earnings and the rate of pay that they receive from WorkCover?

There are two distinct areas to address here.

  • The first is whether you have any options to increase the amount you receive on a weekly or fortnightly basis from your weekly payments.
  • The second thing to look at is whether you may be able to make up for the loss in your weekly wage through a common law claim.

There is unfortunately no option through WorkCover itself to get WorkCover make up pay.

You will receive your 95% and 80% rates from WorkCover and no amount of negotiation will change that.

Where someone may have an entitlement to make up pay comes from their work contract, whether it be an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, Award or an employment contract.

While no study that we are aware of has been done to confirm whether WorkCover makeup pay is a common feature of EBA’s or Awards, in our experience in most circumstances there is no provision for make up pay.

Certain workplaces or industries will be more likely to have a provision in their workplace agreement for make up pay in circumstances where someone is injured and is in receipt of weekly payments from WorkCover.

The first step for you to take is to check how you are employed (i.e. workplace contract, EBA, Award or other) and then review that document to see whether there is any provision for make up pay.

If you do not have access to your work conditions but are in a union, you can contact your union to ask them about it.

Any entitlement to make up pay is paid by your employer and is separate from any WorkCover payment.

It may well be that you receive the make up pay in the same payment as the WorkCover weekly payment and as such you appear to just be getting your regular wage.

There may well be a cap on how long the makeup pay continues for and as such it may be that at some point during the life of your claim for weekly payments your make up pay will cease, but your entitlement to weekly payments continues.

The second area to look at is whether you may be able to claim the gap between your pre-injury wages and what WorkCover pays through a common law claim.

Common law claims are covered extensively elsewhere on The Work Injury Site.

If you are able to bring a claim for loss of earnings through a common law claim, then there is a high likelihood that you would receive a payment that includes some past loss of earnings.

This will allow you to make up at least some of the difference between your pre injury earnings and your WorkCover payments.

As an example, if you received 2.5 years of weekly payments and the shortfall between your pre injury earnings and those payments over the 2.5 years was $45,000.

Your claim for economic loss would include a claim for those lost earnings. You are not able to claim the full loss over those 2.5 years as the weekly payments must be taken into account.

Please keep in mind that the information contained on this page should not be considered legal advice and no content on this site should replace the need to obtain advice tailored to the specific facts of your case. The facts of a case can significantly alter the advice that can provided. This site only provides general advice. Read more here.

To contact Michael or Peter call 1800 746 442 or email [email protected].

Written by the Work Injury Site team