What is PIAWE?
When a worker has a work-related injury, and they’re unable to perform their full pre-injury duties, they may be paid a percentage of their pre-injury average weekly earnings (known as PIAWE) for a set period. Agents (scheme agents, service providers, authorised providers and claims managers) are responsible for ensuring that those payments are accurate.
Why has PIAWE changed?
On Friday, 13 September 2019, the NSW Government published the Workers Compensation Amendment (PIAWE) Regulation (PDF, 0.2 MB) - which changed the way an injured worker’s PIAWE is calculated. These changes come into effect on Monday, 21 October 2019 and apply to workers injured on or after that date.
The PIAWE changes were part of broader legislative reforms that included changes to the dispute resolution process, pathways to complaints and unresolved enquiries and the removal of the 52-week 'step down' for shift and overtime allowances for some injured workers.
Note: The PIAWE amendments do not apply to exempt categories of workers (for example police, firefighters and paramedics).
A simpler PIAWE calculation
The PIAWE reforms simplified the way in which an injured worker’s PIAWE is calculated, making it easier for workers and employers to understand and for agents to apply. The updated method aims to:
- be transparent and applicable to a wide range of working arrangements
- save time and allow workers, employers and agents to focus on return to work, and improve outcomes for workers
- enable employers and workers to agree on a PIAWE amount, as an alternative pathway to the agent making a work capacity decision
- reduce PIAWE-related disputes.
PIAWE by agreement
The updated PIAWE framework allows the employer and worker to agree on the PIAWE amount to be used for determining the worker's weekly compensation payments. PIAWE agreements are optional. Where an employer and a worker do not enter into an agreement, the agent will calculate PIAWE in accordance with the legislation and make a work capacity decision.
There are certain requirements that must be met for an agreement to be valid, including the agent being satisfied that the agreed PIAWE amount is fair and reasonable. An employer and worker who have struck an agreement must apply to the agent for approval of the agreement within five days of initial notification of injury. Please use the following PIAWE agreement form to seek the agent's approval of an agreement.
Dispute Resolution Reforms implementation
At icare, we hold ourselves accountable for the implementation of the dispute resolution reforms within the schemes that we operate.
When the NSW Government announced the reforms, icare began communicating with SIRA, and communicating with key stakeholders to help them understand the changes relevant to them.
In August 2019, icare launched online and face-to-face training on the expected PIAWE changes.
In October 2019, we co-presented a PIAWE reforms webinar, in which Government agencies, employers and brokers had an opportunity to learn more about the reforms, hear from SIRA, and have their questions answered.
icare continues to consult with SIRA, and to share information and resources with agents, employers, brokers and injured workers through our website, newsletters and forums, to ensure the successful embedment of these changes.
Our three 15-minute training modules are designed to aid you in understanding PIAWE and how it is calculated. You can take any of the three modules at any time. There are no limits to accessing these packages.
Government agency, employer and broker webinar
In this Government agency, employer and broker webinar recording icare and SIRA talk about:
- The key changes to the legislative framework, regulation and supporting publications
- The benefits to agencies, employers, brokers and injured workers
- What employers and brokers need to do differently
- icare’s role and progress in implementing the reforms
- Where to go for more information and help.
If you have a PIAWE-related enquiry or complaint, please contact your agent or icare in the first instance.
- Workers with unresolved enquiries/complaints about their agent/insurer can call WIRO on 13 94 76 or visit the WIRO website
- Workers with unresolved enquiries/complaints about their employer or agent/insurer can call SIRA on 13 10 50 or visit the SIRA website
- Employers and other stakeholders with unresolved enquiries/complaints can call SIRA on 13 10 50 or visit the SIRA website