**How to calculate your PIAWE**

If you can’t work because of a work related injury and you have an accepted WorkCover claim in Victoria, you may be entitled to weekly payments.

These payments are based on what’s called your PIAWE.

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## What is PIAWE?

**PIAWE means ‘pre injury average weekly earnings.’**

Your PIAWE is the figure that your WorkCover weekly payments are based on.

PIAWE takes into account the average of your earnings over a specific period.

Once your PIAWE has been calculated, you’re paid weekly payments as follows:

- For the first 13 weeks of weekly payments you receive 95% of your PIAWE.
- From the 14th to the 130th weeks you receive 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings.
- If you are entitled to weekly payments after 130 weeks, then you’ll be paid at 80% of your PIAWE.
- From 52 weeks onwards, any overtime and shift allowances you were entitled to no longer get included in the PIAWE calculation.

More on how to calculate your PIAWE in the next section.

## How is PIAWE calculated?

Once your claim has been accepted, if the claim involves a claim for weekly payments, the relevant WorkCover insurer will calculate your PIAWE.

They’ll typically request that the employer complete a form called *Calculating Pre-injury Average Weekly Earnings form for employers*.

Additionally, they can request pay information from the employer to assist them to calculate your PIAWE.

### PIAWE calculation

Here’s how to calculate PIAWE:

The starting point is work our over what period your PIAWE should be calculated.

Next, you want to calculate your ordinary earnings figure, ensuring not to take into account any periods not worked over the relevant period.

You then need to consider any relevant inclusions such as commissions and any non pecuniary benefits (such as the use of a motor vehicle).

You’re then paid at the rate of 95% of your PIAWE for the first 13 weeks. Thereafter, you’re paid at the rate of 80% up until 130 weeks. If you have an entitlement to payments before 130 weeks, you’re paid at the rate of 80%.

If you were paid for overtime and shift allowances, these are factored in to the PIAWE calculation for the first 52 weeks.

Lets look into calculating PIAWE in further detail.

### Your PIAWE is based on the average of your ordinary earnings with an employer over a specific period of time

If you’ve been employed for 12 months with an employer, then the average is taken over the 12 month period prior to the injury.

If you were employed for less than 12 months with an employer, then the average is taken over the period of employment (for example, 4 months).

If you were employed for less than four weeks before then injury, then the PIAWE rate may be calculated based on what you might have expected to earn had the injury not occurred over a 12 month period.

If you were not employed as a full time worker when you suffered an injury, but you were, for the most part, a full time worker for 78 weeks immediately prior to an injury and you were seeking full time employment, your PIAWE would be based on the average weekly hours whilst employment in any employment during the 78 week period.

### What are ordinary earnings for the purposes of calculating PIAWE?

Your ‘ordinary earnings’ can include:

- base rate of pay
- any piece rates
- commissions
- monetary value of particular non pecuniary benefits. These may include things such as the use of a motor vehicle and residential accommodation.
- other amounts that you may have received in lieu of salary.

It can be quite complicated determining what should and should not be included in PIAWE calculation.

### Any periods in which you did not work during the relevant time period (12 months, less than 12 months) should be excluded from the calculation.

So say for example you’re a casual worker and you did not work for a month during the relevant 12 month pre injury period, this month should be excluded from the PIAWE calculation.

**Here’s an example:**

Lets say you were earning $1000 per week every week during the 12 month period prior to suffering an injury.

Your PIAWE (assuming no further inclusions) would be $1000.

If you were off work for a month in the 12 month period and this month was not disregarded in the PIAWE calculation, your PIAWE would be $846.15.

If you exclude the month you didn’t work in the calculation however, your PIAWE would be $1000.

### PIAWE after 52 weeks

For the first 52 weeks of payments, and overtime and shift allowances should be included in the calculation.

As should commissions, other benefits that you may get in your employment, and any salary sacrifice value.

Things such as allowances, bonuses and other loadings are excluded from the calculation.

After 52 weeks of payments, if overtime and/or shift allowances were included in the calculation initially, then they stop being factored in.

### PIAWE after 130 weeks

If you have an entitlement to weekly payments post 130 weeks because you have no work capacity which is likely to continue indefinitely, you’ll be paid at the rate of 80% of your PIAWE.

Any overtime and shift allowances that might have originally been included in the calculation are not paid post 130 weeks.

### Does PIAWE include super?

No, your superannuation is not taken into account when calculating PIAWE.

But you are paid superannuation by the WorkCover insurer once 52 weeks have passed.

You can read more about PIAWE and superannuation here.

### Are promotions or different positions taken into account when calculating PIAWE?

If your earnings increased during the 12 month period prior to an injury because you obtained a promotion or were appointed to a different position with an employer, then you may be entitled to have the higher income be used as the basis of your PIAWE calculation.

In some instances, the appropriate way for PIAWE to be calculated is for any period that occurs before the promotion or appointment to be disregarded to calculate PIAWE.

**Here’s an example:**

Lets say that you were employed initially earning $1000 gross per week. However, 6 months prior to an injury occurring, you received a promotion and your weekly wage increased to $1500 gross per week.

For the purposes of calculating PIAWE, rather than calculating 6 months at $1000 per week, and 6 months at $1500 per week – which would give you a PIAWE of $1153.84.

You would instead disregard any earnings prior to the promotion.

So your PIAWE would, in this example, be $1500.

Note that you’re not able to calculate your PIAWE this way if any increase in income you received under your job was temporary. It must be a permanent increase.

If you had received a promotion or new position but you hadn’t yet started when the injury occurred, and the promotion or new position was confirmed in writing, your PIAWE can be calculated by basing it off the new higher earnings for the entire period.

**Here’s an example:**

Lets say that in the 12 months prior to suffering an injury you were earning $1000 per week. A month prior to suffering the injury you received a promotion, such that you would be getting paid $1500 per week.

However, at the time of injury, you had not yet started working the new role and earning $1500 per week.

If the promotion was confirmed in writing, you should be able to base your PIAWE off the $1500 per week figure, rather than the $1000 per week figure (meaning your PIAWE would be $1500 per week, not $1000 per week).

### What if the amount you’ve been receiving in wages is less than you should be receiving?

If you are covered by an award or EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement), you should check that the rate you’re being paid is correct.

If you should be getting paid at a higher rate, then for the purposes of calculating your PIAWE, it can be based on this higher rate rather than the rate you were getting paid.

This is also the case for injured workers who were getting paid cash in hand. If under an award or agreement they were entitled to a greater income than what they were getting paid, their PIAWE can be based on this greater amount.

### Is the PIAWE figure gross?

Yes, the PIAWE figure is the gross (pre tax) figure and not the net (after tax) figure.

## What if I disagree with the calculation of PIAWE by the WorkCover insurer?

You can ask the insurer to review your PIAWE calculation and/or lodge a request for conciliation.

## Conclusion

Your pre injury average weekly earnings, or your ‘PIAWE’, is an average of your ordinary earnings with an employer over a specific period.

Your PIAWE is what your weekly payments figure is based on.

In order to calculate PIAWE, the starting point is to calculate your average ordinary earnings, ensuring not to take into account any periods not worked over the relevant period.

When calculating PIAWE, you should consider any relevant inclusions such as commissions and any non pecuniary benefits (such as the use of a motor vehicle).

You’re then paid at the rate of 95% of your PIAWE for the first 13 weeks. Thereafter, you’re paid at the rate of 80% up until 130 weeks. If you have an entitlement to payments before 130 weeks, you’re paid at the rate of 80%.

If you were paid for overtime and shift allowances, these are factored in to the PIAWE calculation for the first 52 weeks.