Workers' compensation

4.16.1 General

Teachers must report all workplace incidents, injuries, illnesses or health conditions as soon as possible and within 24 hours to the Department’s Incident Report and Support Hotline on 1800 811 523. Delay in notification can impact on the payment of workers compensation benefits resulting in overpayment. Incidents and injuries are reported in accordance with the Incident Notification & Response Procedures.

The Department’s Fund Manager administers the Department’s claims and determine liability for workplace injuries on its behalf.

For a work-related injury or illness, workers' compensation legislation may include income support in the form of weekly payments of workers compensation benefits for an accepted workers compensation claim. The Department pays weekly benefits in the form of workers compensation leave (formerly accident leave) upon approval from the Department’s Fund Manager based on Pre Injury Average Weekly Earnings (PIAWE).

Teachers should ensure that any absence from the workplace is supported by appropriate sick leave applications made through SAP. In the event the Department has already recorded workers compensation leave against this absence, there is no need to make an additional application for leave.

The Department's Recovery at Work program outlines the supports available for the management of workplace injuries to ensure teachers with an illness, injury or health condition (injury) are supported in the workplace by:

  • Ensuring the injured or ill teacher is provided with information, advice and support early in the process
  • Helping the teacher understand the recovery at work process
  • Promoting an early, safe and durable recovery at work through the development and implementation of individual recovery at work plans
  • Ensuring that all teachers and workplace managers understand and meet their obligations in regards to recovery at work
  • Providing information and assistance when determining reasonable adjustments that may be required when teachers require a change to their substantive role

4.16.2 Entitlement

The payment of workers compensation weekly benefits is dependent on the liability status of the teacher’s workers compensation claim being accepted. Where liability has not been determined and the teacher is not fit for normal duties, teachers are required to ensure that they have applied for sick leave, or extended leave to cover the period of absence.

4.16.2.1 Leave and Pay Entitlements – First 13 Weeks of Absece

Workers compensation leave (formerly accident leave) is administered to teachers based on their Pre Injury Average Weekly Earnings (PIAWE) in accordance with the Workers Compensation Act 1987. PIAWE is paid at a weekly rate of entitlement in accordance with the workers' compensation legislation at a rate of 95% of PIAWE provided that;

  • It does not exceed the maximum compensation amount as determined by the legislation
  • A valid Medical Certificate of Capacity exists which covers the period of absence.

If there is a shortfall between the maximum payable weekly compensation and normal gross weekly salary, the teacher may use available paid sick leave or extended leave to bridge the gap (Top Up).

4.16.2.2 Leave and Pay Entitlements – Between 14 -130 Weeks of Absence

When the accumulative absence from work for an injury is more than 26 weeks of weekly workers compensation benefits the use of paid accrued leave to bridge the gap is no longer applicable.

(1) Workers’ compensation leave will be paid at the applicable PIAWE weekly rate of entitlement on the basis that a teacher who has no current work capacity is entitled to receive payments at the rate of 80% of the worker's PIAWE.

(2) Workers’ compensation leave will be paid at the applicable PIAWE weekly rate of entitlement on the basis that a teacher who has current work capacity and has returned to work for not less than 15 hours per week is entitled to receive the lesser of the following rate;

(a) 95% of the worker's PIAWE, less the worker's current weekly earnings,

(b) the maximum weekly compensation amount, less the worker's current weekly earnings.

(3) Workers’ compensation leave will be paid at the applicable PIAWE weekly rate of entitlement on the basis that a teacher who has current work capacity and has returned to work for less than 15 hours per week is entitled to receive the lesser of the following rate

(a) 80% of the worker's PIAWE, less the worker's current weekly earnings,

(b) the maximum weekly compensation amount, less the worker's current weekly earnings.

4.16.2.3 Leave and Pay Entitlements – After 130 Weeks of Absence

Entitlement to workers compensation weekly benefits after 130 weeks is assessed by the Departments Fund Manager through a work capacity assessment. This assessment of a teacher’s entitlement to weekly benefits after 130 weeks must be conducted;

(a) during the last 52 weeks of the second entitlement period, and

(b) thereafter at least once every 2 years.

(c) a worker's entitlement to compensation under this section may be reassessed at any time

The weekly benefits payable for a teacher who is entitled to receive benefits after 130 weeks is to be at the lesser of the following rats;

(a) 80% of the worker's PIAWE, less the worker's current weekly earnings,

(b) the maximum weekly compensation amount, less the worker's current weekly earnings.

4.16.2.4 Partial Incapacity

The Recovery at Work Program is focused on return to work at the earliest possible stage of recovery, based on work capacity. Where teachers have returned to work but are working less than their pre-injury hours, weekly payments will be paid at the applicable weekly rate of entitlement under workers' compensation legislation.

4.16.2.5 Other Entitlements

The Department’s claims manager will pay such medical, hospital and ambulance expenses reasonably incurred by the teacher in connection with the injury or illness. This applies under provisional liability or if liability is accepted.

Teachers should not pay any accounts, nor submit accounts to Medicare or health funds for these services, but forward them directly to the department’s claims manager or to the department for referral to the department’s claims manager.

For information on what other entitlements may apply contact the Health and Safety Directorate by telephone on 1800 811 523, selecting General Enquiry (Option 6) or review the Recovery at Work program.

4.16.3 Annual Leave and Non Attendance During Non Term Weeks

Workers compensation leave does not affect service for the purpose of calculating the payments during non term weeks.

Teachers in receipt of workers compensation benefits during this period will receive payments for annual leave in accordance with Determination No. 6 of 2016 – Annual Leave and Payment for Non Attendance by Teachers in Non Term Weeks and workers compensation benefits as determined by the Department's Fund Manager in accordance with the Workers Compensation Act.

Determination No. 6 of 2016 defines the annual leave weeks for teachers. In the Eastern Division annual leave is taken in the first non term calendar week of each of the student vacations and in the Western Division it is taken in the first two calendar weeks of the summer student vacation and the first non term calendar weeks of the other student vacations.

Teachers receiving workers compensation benefits will receive payments during non term week(s) as determined by the Department's Fund Manager in accordance with the Workers Compensation Act

4.16.4 Public Holidays

Normal salary entitlements which may include compensation entitlements is paid for public holidays occurring during a period for which workers’ compensation has been approved.

4.16.5 Incremental Progression

Workers Compensation leave accrues service for incremental salary progression as if the teacher were on duty.

4.16.6 Permanent Incapacity

In some cases, medical evidence may indicate a teacher may not recover to a point that would allow for a return to their pre-injury role. Medical retirement is an employment decision to separate a teacher from the department that is based on medical information.

See Chapter 11, Separation from the Service for further details.

4.16.7 Rehabilitation and Recovery at Work

The Department’s Recovery at Work: Return to Work Program outlines the support available to manage health in the workplace. This program also includes the department’s approach to managing personal health conditions for teachers with an illness, injury or health conditions to support recovery at the workplace.

Most teachers return to work quickly following an injury with support from their manager, treating medical practitioners, the Return to Work Program and the staff within the Health and Safety Directorate.

Recovery at work refers to all the activities that aim to achieve a timely, safe and durable return to work for teachers with a work related or personal injury seeking to recover at work. The process aims to help teachers by taking the most direct pathway to achieving a return to work on full hours and duties where possible. These activities include notification, early intervention, case management, treatment, rehabilitation and return to work planning activities.

4.16.8 References and Advice

For further advice, please contact the Health and Safety Directorate by telephone on 1800 811 523, selecting General Enquiry (Option 6).

For further information refer to:

  • Workers Compensation Act 1987
  • Workplace Injury Management and Worker Compensation Act 1998
  • SafeWork NSW’s Customer Service Centre on 13 10 50 – provides advice or information regarding safety at work, investigation of a workplace incident or work, health and safety laws
  • Worker Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) on 13 94 76; provides teachers with help to have their complaints against insurers resolved quickly and fairly
  • icare Insurance for NSW on 9216 3829
  • State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) on 13 10 50; provides information on the rights, roles and obligations of everyone working within the workers compensation system
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