Work capacity is your capacity to return to work as certified by your nominated General Practitioner in suitable employment after your injury sustained whilst at work. Work capacity, need not be your pre-injury employment and duties.

If you have been in receipt of weekly payments from the insurer whilst on workers compensation and have received a notice regarding a work capacity decision, it might be valuable to contact Turner Freeman Lawyers and recognise your rights and entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and how lawyers at Turner Freeman can overturn your decisions.

Insurers assess capacity throughout the life of the claim where they are able to evaluate your capacity by way of gathering and reviewing information about your capacity and ability to earn in order to determine your weekly payments entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act.

What is a work capacity decision?

Work capacity decision under section 43 of Workers Compensation Act 1987, allows insurers to determine the following:

  1. Decision about a workers current work capacity;
  2. Decision regarding your suitable employment;
  3. Decision regarding the amount an injured worker is able to earn in suitable employment;
  4. Decision regarding the amount of an injured worker’s pre-injury average weekly earnings or current weekly earnings,
  5. Decision about whether a worker is, as a result of injury, unable without substantial risk of further injury to engage in employment of a certain kind because of the nature of that employment,
  6. Any other decision of an insurer that affects a worker’s entitlement to weekly payments of compensation, including a decision to suspend, discontinue or reduce the amount of the weekly payments of compensation payable to a worker on the basis of any of the above decisions.

These decisions in its totality determine your ongoing weekly payments entitlements or any changes to the amount of weekly payments particularly whether you have capacity and suitable employment so that your weekly payments either decrease or cease.

Should this notice be forthcoming, an insurer must provide you three (3) months’ notice before the decision is implemented. The insurer must not discontinue payments or reduce the amount as per Section 80 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998.

Effect of the decision on your weekly payments:

Once you have been provided a work capacity decision, the effects of the decision will not occur until the end of the notice period of 3 months plus a further 7 working days for delivery by post as required by Section 76 of the Interpretation Act 1987. This will provide you with the opportunity to seek a review of the decision before it takes effect.

Should a review at the workers compensation not be made within the effect of the notice period will bring weekly payments to an end or either be reduced. This is why it is crucial to seek legal advice once you are provided notice so that your lawyer under section 82 of Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 will allow no regard to be had to any period of notice in respect of any discontinuation or reduction before the date on which you are notified of the review decision.

Effect of decision on medical or related treatment expenses:

The decision for your work capacity made will entitle you to a further two (2) years of medical or related treatment from the date your weekly payments come to an end under section 59A of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

Should you become entitled to weekly payments again after this period, you may be entitled to medical or related treatment again during any period weekly payments are paid under section 59A(3) of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.


If you have been provided a notice from the insurer that either that you are able to undergo suitable employment or have some form of work capacity, you should contact Turner Freeman lawyers.

Lawyers at Turner freeman can review your decision by the following process:

1. Requesting an internal review with the insurer.

An internal review form is to be completed so that the insurer may consider further information and provide a decision within 14 days under s287A of the Workplace Injury Management Workers Compensation Act 1998.

2. Review your Work capacity decision at the Workers Compensation Commission.

The workers compensation commission is an independent tribunal accessible to all injured parties that help facilitate a resolution in regards to the dispute. It is important to note, that a review by the workers compensation will allow a “stay” on the effect of the work capacity decision made by the insurer on your weekly payments as long as the application to the commission is made before the effect of the notice.

This means, your weekly payments will continue until a final decision at the workers compensation is made despite the insurer stating the weekly payments will come to an end.


When seeking an internal review and review at the commission, the appropriate evidence that needs to be provided to the insurer which includes independent medical evidence, work cover certificates and or vocational assessment along with any information that is relevant to overturn the insurer’s decision.

Contact Turner Freeman Lawyers for legal advice

You may lodge a dispute to challenge an insurer’s decision with the assistance of specialised lawyers at Turner Freeman who are able to lodge a review of your decision at the Workers Compensation Commission under section 44 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

It is important to contact our personal injury lawyers at Turner Freeman before the date of the decision takes effect, so that there will be no change to your weekly payment until the workers compensation commission makes its decision.