The term exempt worker refers to specific workers for which most of the amendments made to the Workers Compensation Scheme in 2012 and 2015 do not apply.
Exempt workers include:
- Police Officers
The below will outline the two main differences in the general entitlements available to injured workers in NSW between exempt workers and other types of workers.
Weekly Compensation Payments
If you are an exempt worker, you are entitled to weekly benefits based on your current weekly wage rate (otherwise known as CWWR) before the injury. For workers paid under an award, industrial or enterprise agreement, the weekly wage rate is calculated at 100% of your CWWR (excluding overtime, shift worker, payments for special expenses and penalty rates). This will occur for the first 26 weeks post injury. This may differ for police officers.
In most circumstances after 26 weeks, the weekly benefit that will be paid to you will be either a fixed rate, known as the ‘statutory rate’ or 90% of your average weekly earnings, which is lesser.
This differs slightly to other workers entitlements to weekly compensation and the usual entitlement to weekly payments at the rate of 95% for the first 13 weeks and then the reduced 80% rate thereafter.
Lump Sum Compensation
Much like other types of workers, exempt workers are also entitled to claim lump sum compensation pursuant to Section 66 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 for injuries that result in permanent impairment. For general classes of workers, as a result of the amendments made to the scheme in 2012, for physical injuries the minimum permanent impairment required to make a claim is 11%. For psychological injuries, the minimum permanent impairment required to make a claim is 15%.
As exempt workers are not impacted by the 2012 amendments, the minimum permanent impairment required to make a claim is 1% pursuant to Section 66 of the 1987 Act. However, for psychological injuries, the minimum threshold remains at 15% permanent impairment.
Furthermore, if an exempt injured worker is assessed or agreed to suffer at least 10% whole person impairment or greater for physical injuries and 15% whole person impairment or greater for psychological injuries, in addition to the lump sum entitlement available to them pursuant to Section 66 of the 1987 Act, they are also available to claim a discretionary amount pursuant to Section 67 of the 1987 Act for pain and suffering up to an amount of $50,000. This is an important entitlement as other types of workers are not entitled to a Section 67 payment for pain and suffering as a result of the 2012 amendments.
Exempt workers are also entitlement to bring a further claim for lump sum compensation, if there has been a deterioration in the worker’s injuries since the last claim for lump sum compensation. This differs markedly to the general class of workers whereby they are only entitled to make one claim for lump sum compensation pursuant to Section 66 of the 1987 Act, regardless of their deterioration of their injuries.
If you are an injured worker, do not hesitate to contact Turner Freeman on (02) 8833 2500 to discuss your entitlements under the Workers Compensation scheme.