You may be entitled to receive income support while you are unable to work or are on a rehabilitation program. This is known as incapacity payments.
Incapacity payments explained
If you are injured, incapacity payments compensate you for loss of income until you recover from your work-related injury or illness or while you are on a rehabilitation program.
Incapacity payments are not a pension and they do not include any superannuation entitlements.
Income tax is deducted based on individual income tax rates before your incapacity payment is processed. For information on how you will receive your incapacity payments, speak to your human resources team.
The first 45 weeks
Incapacity payments received in the first 45 weeks after an injury are payable at a rate equal to 100 per cent of your normal weekly earnings—less any amount you are actually earning.
Your normal weekly earnings is an amount which is intended to fairly represent what you would have earned in a week, had you not been injured. It is calculated based on your salary at the time of injury and may include overtime and allowances if relevant.
The first 45 weeks of incapacity payments are calculated cumulatively, not consecutively.
- if you take a single day off for medical treatment during a week, only a single day is counted toward your total 45 weeks
- if you take a single day off for three weeks, this equals three days, or 0.6 weeks, toward the 45 weeks of incapacity.
- if you are unfit for work for one full week this equals one week towards the 45 weeks of incapacity.
After 45 weeks
Incapacity payments are calculated differently if you are unable to work at your pre-injury capacity after 45 weeks.
From 45 weeks your incapacity payments are calculated based on the percentage of actual hours worked during the week.
See Table 1 for the percentages and compensation payable.
|Per cent of normal weekly hours worked||Compensation payable|
|Did not work||75 per cent of normal weekly earnings|
|25 per cent or less||80 per cent of normal weekly earnings minus actual earnings|
|More than 25 per cent but not more than 50 per cent||85 per cent of normal weekly earnings minus actual earnings|
|More than 50 per cent but not more than 75 per cent||90 per cent of normal weekly earnings minus actual earnings|
|More than 75 per cent but less than 100 per cent||95 per cent of normal weekly earnings minus actual earnings|
|100 per cent||100 per cent of normal weekly earnings minus actual earnings|
There are requirements you may need to meet to claim incapacity payments while residing overseas.
If, after experiencing an injury or illness, you leave Australia (whether on a short-term or long-term basis) and intend to claim incapacity payments under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act), see the Information for Employees Residing or Moving Overseas information sheet (PDF, 147.8 KB) which outlines the legislative requirements and obligations that claims managers may expect you to meet.
How to claim incapacity payments
Employees of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority
Submit an online form
- Get a medical certificate from your medical provider.
- Open the Claim for Time Off Work Online form.
- Enter your claim details and personal information and click Next to login.
- Fill out the form and attach required documents.
- Submit the form.
- After you submit, your employer’s human resources area receives the form and completes the employer details section. They then submit the form to us for processing.
If you need more information and detailed steps, download the:
- Claim for Time Off Work Online form reference guide for employees (PDF, 140.8 KB)
- Claim for Time Off Work Online form information for employees (PDF, 115.4 KB)
- Claim for Time Off Work Online form information for employers (PDF, 117.1 KB).
Submit a paper form
- Get a medical certificate from your medical provider.
- Complete the Claim for Time Off Work form (PDF, 64.9 KB). You need to include information about all employment you worked, including self and voluntary employment.
- Send the completed form and medical certificate to your employer's human resources area.
- They complete the employer section of the form, including actual weekly hours and actual earnings, then submit the form to us for processing.
Update your details
Make sure you let us know if your bank account or contact details change by submitting the Update Email and Bank Details Online form for employees.
Normal weekly earnings
Employers can submit an employee’s normal weekly earnings (NWE) through the 'Employer' section of the Online forms portal or by completing the Normal weekly earnings advice form (PDF, 172.3 KB). For more information about submitting NWE download the Employer reference guide: Normal weekly earnings advice (PDF, 113.1 KB).
Employees of a self-insured licensee
If you work for an organisation which is a self-insured licensee, a staff member in your organisation or a third-party provider manages your claim. Speak with your human resources team for more information.
Case studies - incapacity payments
Anne: Unable to work for six weeks, then returns to work gradually
Anne suffers an injury and is completely unable to work for six weeks.
During this time, Anne’s incapacity payments are calculated at 100 per cent of Anne’s normal weekly earnings. It is 100 per cent because while Anne is completely off work, she has no actual earnings.
After six weeks, Anne returns to work on a gradual return to work plan. Anne is medically fit to work three hours a day for three days a week.
During these weeks, Anne’s incapacity payments are calculated at 100 per cent of Anne’s normal weekly earnings less the amount Anne actually earns from working nine hours a week.
Greg: At 45 weeks, is gradually increasing hours worked
Greg’s claim has exceeded 45 weeks and he is on a gradual return to work plan.
Greg is currently working five hours a week out of the 37 and a half hours he worked before his injury.
Greg is working 13 per cent of his normal weekly hours and so he is entitled to 80 per cent of his normal weekly earnings, less any actual earnings he receives for working the five hours a week.
After a few weeks, Greg increases his hours as he is now medically fit to work 10 hours a week. By working 10 hours a week, Greg is working 26 per cent of the normal weekly hours and so he is entitled to 85 per cent of the normal weekly earnings, less any actual earnings for working 10 hours per week.
Greg continues to increase his hours and after a few weeks is now fit to work 20 hours a week. By working 20 hours a week, Greg is working 53 per cent of the normal weekly hours and so he is entitled to 90 per cent of the normal weekly earnings, less any actual earnings for working 20 hours a week.
James: Medically unfit to work for two years
James sustained a workplace injury two years ago and has since been medically unfit for work.
During the first 45 weeks, James’s incapacity payments are calculated at 100 per cent of James’s normal weekly earnings. It is 100 per cent because James is completely off work during this time and has no actual earnings.
After 45 weeks, incapacity payments are calculated differently—as a percentage of the normal weekly hours James works during these weeks. As James is medically unfit to work and is working no hours at all, James’s incapacity payments are 75 per cent of normal weekly earnings.