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 but, there can be a lot to it. In this podcast, Bourke Legal Senior Associate, Jessica Prasser, talks about what you need to know about PIAWE.
Dan: 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 or PIAWE for a said period. But there can be a lot to it, and today to learn more, I’m with senior associate Jessica Prasser from Bourke Legal. So Jess, what is PIAWE actually mean?
Jessica: PIAWE is defined as the weekly average of the gross pre-injury earnings received by the worker during the period of 52 weeks before the injury in any employment in which the worker was engaged at the time of the injury.
Dan: So what is it used for in a worker’s compensation claim?
Jessica: PIAWE is used by insurers to calculate the rates that an injured worker is entitled to for weekly compensation whilst they are either partially or totally incapacitated to work as a result of their injury.
Dan: Now, what about those occasions where a employee may, in fact, have more than one employer?
Jessica: This is actually a really difficult question to answer in such a short podcast, because the way that PIAWE is calculated when there’s multiple employers is completely dependent on that person set of circumstances. However, generally, the average weekly earnings for each job is to be calculated separately and then added together to determine the person’s PIAWE. For each of the earnings at the separate jobs are then divided by the relevant earning period, which they were employed either for 52 weeks prior to the injury or if it was less than that, how long they’ve been employed there, and then they’re calculated to come up with an average. However, that’s not always the case.
It’s not a blanket rule, and it will also depend on certain circumstances, such as if both jobs are under a fair work agreement, or if only one job is under a fair work agreement. If one of the jobs is under a fair work agreement and the other isn’t, usually the PIAWE is calculated under the earnings for the one that’s under the fair work agreement. However, this scenario can become quite complex if the person has two, three, four jobs at the same time. So we recommend people seek legal assistance when trying to calculate their PIAWE, when there’s more than one employer in the relevant period.
Dan: Now, what should a worker do if they think the insurer has calculated the PIAWE wrong or incorrectly?
Jessica: If you think the employer or the insurer has calculated your PIAWE wrong, you should definitely contact an IRO-approved lawyer urgently, and they can obtain a grant of funding from IRO to have a look at the way that their PIAWE has been calculated and provide you with an advice on whether it’s incorrect or correct. If it’s incorrect, the lawyer can then actually get in touch with the insurer and have them review it. If a agreement cannot be reached in terms of the correct PIAWE, then the lawyer can then take it to the personal injury commission to be determined.
Dan: Jess, if anyone listening to this podcast has got questions, they can reach out to you or the team at Bourke Legal?
Jessica: Yes, they can definitely contact us here at Bourke Legal. We have quite a few specialised workers’ compensation solicitors who can assist anyone who has any questions in relation to their PIAWE or any other related questions to do with their workers’ compensation claim. So please feel free to reach out.
Thanks for listening. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Bourke Legal on 1300 026 875.