Sometimes, when a worker's
weekly payments on WorkCover are set initially on a claim, the
circumstances of what they get by way of income and their overall
package can change down the track. An example of this is when
a worker at the start of a claim has the use of a company car and
then at some point later down the track due to the worker being
terminated or detached from employment the car is taken away from
Once the car is taken away this leaves the worker car-less with
no benefit in money terms for the loss of the car. How then
is this change in circumstance accounted for in their weekly
payments? Can it get accounted for? The answer is yes it
In this 'change in circumstances' situation there is scope for a
review to be done. WorkCover SA, of its own initiative or at
the request of a worker can request a review to look at the
calculation of the workers WorkCover weekly payments. In certain
circumstances an adjustment because of a change in the component of
the workers income can be made. This includes a non cash benefit,
for example, a company car or other company items.
At Andersons, we've have
been involved in 2 cases recently where sums of approximately
$15,000.00 and $12,000.00 (divided into a weekly allowance) have
been added to the workers weekly earnings to make allowance for the
loss of a car that has been taken back by the employer.
Non cash benefits can include other things such as use of a
company phone, access to a discounted rate of interest on a loan,
payment of school fees, payment of health insurance premiums,
payment of medical benefits, a computer for personal use, access to
the internet, accommodation, payment of or towards housing costs, a
telephone and payment of costs associated with the using or
maintaining the telephone, a credit card or a staff discount
program. Sometimes in these cases a distinction is drawn
between whether or not these things can be used for private or
business use only.
Another case of a similar nature we have come across recently is a
salary sacrifice amount which was not included in the workers
WorkCover weekly payments when they were set. The workers
compensation legislation however, provides for this and says it
needs to be taken into account as earnings. This is certainly
something to watch out for .
In these types of matters it is useful to have any documents that
a worker was given when they commenced employment about their
salary and packaging arrangements such as Contracts of Employment
or letters of offer from the employer. It is also useful if the
worker has an idea of any verbal or written offers that were made
by the employer as to how much they would get for their salary if
they elected not to have the company vehicle and used their own
private vehicle instead. In the case of one worker, he was told,
and it was confirmed by the employer that, if he chose to use his
own vehicle his salary would be $15,000.00 on top of his base
salary to account for running and maintaining his own
So if your income and salary packaging circumstances change
throughout the course of your WorkCover claim you may have access
to a right of review under the workers compensation scheme.
If any of your circumstances change it would be worthwhile at that
point to seek advice from an experienced workers compensation
lawyer. It can get a bit complex but at Andersons we've got a great
team in Workers Compensation and you can even get in
direct contact with our blog writer today, our Associate Alana Moore.
Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia.
It relates to South Australian legislation.