Wage Benefits on Workers' Compensation Claims - what are normal weekly wages?
Normal weekly earnings (NWE) are your weekly earnings from continuous or intermittent employment during the 12 months prior to your injury. If you haven't been employed for 12 months, then the earnings for the period you have been employed will be used to calculate your NWE.
It is important to understand, NWE are not necessarily the same as average weekly earnings. Average weekly earnings are the average of all amounts paid to you. NWE takes into account only regular payments made, which would have continued if not for the injury, including:
- salary or wages
- higher duties
- allowances (except those listed below).
NWE do not include:
- allowances payable in relation to travelling, car, relocation, meal, education, living in the country or away from home, entertainment, clothing, tools and vehicle expenses
- employer contributions to a scheme for superannuation benefits (other than contributions made from money payable to you)
- lump-sum payments on termination of your services for superannuation, accrued holidays, long service leave or any other purposes
- an amount payable to you as an employer excess payment for an injury.
When a worker has earned different amounts each week it is necessary to determine a weekly rate that is ‘normal’. When calculating this, WorkCover or the self-insurer look at the mode, median and mean of your pre-injury earnings over the previous 12 months. An injured worker can perform this task themselves, or with the assistance of a solicitor, by going to WorkCover Queensland's website.
The “mode” is the most frequently recurring amount. If the same wage amount occurs at least 1/3 of the time over the 12 months before your injury, then this will be taken as the NWE. If not, then a comparison is made between the median and the mean of your pre-injury wages.
The median is the middle amount in a given sequence of amounts listed in ascending order. The mean is the sum of all amounts divided by the total number of amounts. If the mean is within 5% of the median, the greater amount of the two is used as NWE. If the median and the mean differ by more than 5%, the median is used as NWE.
If a mode of $0 (nil) occurs at least 1/3 of the time and if the median is also $0 (nil), the mean will be used as NWE.
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Calculating your normal weekly earnings can be complex. If you require any assistance or wish to know more about your rights and entitlements, chat online with us, email or call free to The Personal Injury Lawyers where we can assess your claim within minutes.