Guide To Workers Compensation in WA: WorkCover Perth
If you’ve recently experienced a work-related injury in Perth or anywhere in Western Australia, you don’t have to struggle with covering all the expenses that follow. Workers compensation insurance as regulated through WorkCover Perth helps protect workers at WA companies in the event of an accident or illness contracted on the job.
In this article, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions (FAQS) to help guide employees through workers compensation legislation, processes, and guidelines in Western Australia.
Here are some of the key takeaways that you will have learned by the end.
- How WorkCover in Perth, and other areas of WA, works
- Who’s eligible to make a WorkCover claim in WA
- The rules that govern working while receiving WorkCover payouts
- How WorkCover calculates payouts (and for how long)
What is WorkCover in WA?
WorkCover is an arm of a statutory organisation called WorkSafe that is active in Western Australia and all the other states throughout the country. Its purpose is to oversee and regulate workers compensation insurance, as well as administer payouts to eligible claimants.
The need for workers compensation insurance is high, particularly when we consider these statistics.
- According to the most recent data from the Scheme Status report March 2023, found on the Workcover WA government site, there were a total of 7,079 claims lodged in Q3 of fiscal year 2022-23. This is a 4.4% increase from the previous quarter.
- Meanwhile, the incidence rate per full-time worker was 1.09, up by 4.8% from the previous quarter.
- During the same period, the average finalised payment from WorkCover per claimant was $42,203.
The sheer number of claims and the amounts being paid out demonstrate the important service that WorkCover is rendering. It’s ensuring that hard-working Western Australians are able to cover their expenses and pay for treatment for their injuries incurred at work, so that their livelihoods aren’t ruined by this type of unforeseen setback.
Is WorkCover compulsory in Western Australia?
All companies in WA are required by law to pay for workers compensation insurance. This is necessary protection for employers as much as employees, so that they aren’t responsible for paying for their workers’ injury claims out of pocket.
Workers compensation legislation for Western Australia
Western Australia has a long history of workers compensation legislation, dating all the way back to the Workers Compensation Act 1902. The Workers Compensation and Assistance Act 1981 was a consolidation of all the amendments made to the original law over the decades.
In the 2000s, the latter legislation was renamed to the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 to reflect new reforms, which included injury management and statutory benefits.
How does workers compensation in WA work?
When a worker is injured or becomes sick on the job in Perth or WA, they must do the following to make a workers compensation cover claim:
- Visit a doctor to obtain a First Certificate of Capacity. This is a form in which the doctor indicates the capacity that the employee is able to return to their job, if at all.
- Fill out a Workers Compensation Claim Form, which can be found on the WorkCover WA website.
- Give copies of both the First Certificate of Capacity and the Compensation Claim Form to their employer.
At this point, the employer must fill out their portion of the claim form and submit both documents to its workers compensation insurer – all within five business days of receiving them. Then the insurer will let the employee know within 14 days whether their claim has been accepted, denied, or requires further investigation.
Who is eligible to make a workers compensation claim in WA?
A person is considered a worker in Western Australia and eligible to make a claim if they:
- Are working part-time or full-time
- Are casual, seasonal, piece, or commission workers
- Are working directors, contractors, or subcontractors (subject to their working arrangements)
What are Western Australian workers compensation entitlements?
If you are injured or stricken ill at work, you may be able to receive the following compensation entitlements from WorkCover as an employee:
- Loss of wages
- Medical expenses
- Workplace rehabilitation expenses
- Travel, board, and lodging expenses
- A lump-sum impairment payment
How do I lodge a WorkCover claim in WA?
To lodge a WorkCover claim, you must get a First Certificate of Capacity from your doctor and fill out the claim form. Then, you must turn these documents over to your employer (after making copies of them for your own records). Your employer will then file the claim with its workers compensation insurer.
How do I fill out a workers compensation form in WA?
The Workers Compensation Form is available to Western Australian workers on the Government of Western Australia website on the Worker Forms page. You can either download a PDF version to print off or to fill out using your computer or mobile device.
How long does it take for my WorkCover claim to be decided in Western Australia?
The workers compensation insurer has 14 days from receiving the Certificate and the Claim Form from your employer to render a decision. They may accept or deny your claim, or they may choose to put a 10-day hold on it to investigate it further.
If the 10 days pass and they still haven’t made a decision, the claim is considered under dispute. But in most cases, you only have to wait 14-24 days to hear a verdict.
How long can you stay on workers compensation in Western Australia?
Theoretically, you can continue to receive weekly workers compensation payments until you reach retirement age. However, there is a limit to how much compensation you can receive in total, called the Prescribed Amount. Once and if you reach it, you will no longer receive WorkCover payouts for that claim.
Your weekly payments will also decrease or cease altogether in certain cases, like:
- If your doctor deems you fit to return to work (fully or partially)
- If you resume your job in full capacity
- If your claim is finalised through a settlement
- If you give your consent to WorkCover in writing to stop the payouts
- If you pursue a common law claim
The rules with working and workers compensation claims
Here are the guidelines that workers should follow when it comes to working and navigating WorkCover claims at the same time.
Do you accrue annual leave while on workers compensation in WA?
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, an injured worker in Western Australia can continue to accrue annual leave.
Can I take leave while on workers compensation?
You can take annual or long service leave while receiving workers compensation payouts. You can’t, however, take sick leave.
Can I be dismissed while on WorkCover?
Yes, you can be terminated from your position while you’re on WorkCover. Your employer must:
- Fill out a Notice of Intention To Dismiss.
- Give 28 days’ notice.
- Let WorkCover know about your dismissal.
- Give you a copy of the Notice.
Guide to workCover payouts in Western Australia
This part of the article will inform you about how WorkCover payouts are calculated in WA, as well as the maximum amount you can receive.
How are my weekly payments of workers compensation calculated?
Weekly WorkCover payments are calculated based on whether you are an industrial award employee or a non-award employee.
This table explains how industrial award workers are compensated for work-related injuries:
|First 13 weeks||
|14 weeks and beyond||
Here is the table outlining payouts for non-award employees:
|First 13 weeks||
|14 weeks and beyond||
What is the maximum payout on workers compensation in WA?
The maximum payout that a claim worker can receive per week on workers compensation is equal to twice the average weekly earnings that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has calculated for that year.
Furthermore, there is a maximum amount of money that employees can receive in total from all their weekly workers compensation payments. This is called the Prescribed Amount and is reevaluated every year. It’s currently set at $243,991.
Example of a successful WA workers compensation settlement
Our client, a heavy machinery operator, sustained an injury when the loader they were driving collided with a wall. They came to LHD Lawyers after having received an offer from the insurer of approximately $50,000.00. Our lawyers identified an error in the insurance doctor’s assessment and sent the client to an independent doctor for a further assessment. The error was confirmed by the independent doctor resulting in the settlement offer being increased to $85,000.00 in addition to the entitlements already received by our client to date.
For more case studies, visit our workers compensation payout hub.
Make a workers compensation claim today
If you think you have a workers compensation claim to make in Western Australia, LHD Lawyers can help everyday Australians receive the benefits they’re entitled to. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.
Author: Heine Papenfus