On Friday, 13 September 2019, the NSW Government published the Workers Compensation Amendment (Pre-injury Average Weekly Earnings) Regulation 2019. The Regulation changes the way an injured worker’s PIAWE is calculated. These changes come into effect today.
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.
Simplifying the way PIAWE is calculated
The PIAWE reforms aim to simplify 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 new method intends 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, and
- reduce PIAWE-related disputes.
The PIAWE changes are part of broader legislative reforms under the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2018. These reforms included changes to the dispute resolution process, pathways for complaints and unresolved enquiries (effective 1 January 2019), and the removal of the 52-week step down for shift and overtime allowances in the PIAWE calculations of workers who sustained an injury on or after 26 October 2018.
Implementing the 2018 Dispute Resolution Reforms
At icare, we hold ourselves accountable for the implementation of the dispute resolution legislative amendments, regulation and guidelines within the schemes that we operate.
In August 2019, we began online and face-to-face training with staff and agents on the expected changes to PIAWE and how to calculate and manage PIAWE in practice. In October 2019, we provided employers and brokers with access to three online PIAWE training modules and hosted a PIAWE reforms webinar with live Q&A.
We will continue to consult with SIRA and share information and resources (including fact sheets and a PIAWE agreements video) with agents, employers, brokers and injured workers through our website, newsletters and forums.
 PIAWE amendments do not apply to exempt categories of workers (for example police, firefighters and paramedics).