In response to COVID-19, JobKeeper payments are being made to eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations to support them in retaining their employees.
How does this affect employees currently on WorkCover?
If you are a worker who is totally incapacitated for work and receiving weekly payments under WorkCover, you will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payments. You will continue to receive your payments under WorkCover, under the general provisions, without any inclusion of a JobKeeper payment.
For example, a worker who worked 35 hours pre-injury is now totally incapacitated and cannot work. They are submitting certificates of capacity and receiving full entitlement benefits under the WorkCover system. As they are totally incapacitated for work and are receiving WorkCover payments, JobKeeper payments are not applicable.
Alternatively, a worker who is partially incapacitated for work and/or working reduced hours may be eligible for JobKeeper payments if the employer elects to pay them $1,500 per fortnight. In this situation we have three possible scenarios:
Worker A normally receives $1,200 a fortnight. This includes the wages for the reduced hours they work ($700), and the payments they receive for their accepted WorkCover claim ($500). Worker A's employer elects to pay him the additional amount to entitle him to the JobKeeper payment. Worker A continues to work reduced hours whilst on JobKeeper or can be stood down.
What payments does Worker A get?
The WorkCover insurer will cease all weekly payments as the worker is now receiving more than they otherwise would. Worker A will receive $1,500 a fortnight from their employer only.
Worker B normally receives $2,000 a fortnight. This includes the wages for the reduced hours they work ($1,600), and the payments they receive for their accepted WorkCover claim ($400). Worker B's employer now pays him $1,500 a fortnight under the JobKeeper scheme. Worker B continues to work reduced hours whilst on JobKeeper.
What payments does Worker B get?
In this scenario the JobKeeper payment will subsidise $1,500 of the worker's earnings, and the employer will pay the remaining $100. Worker B will ultimately receive the same amount; $1,500 from the employer under JobKeeper, $100 from their employer and $400 from WorkCover.
Worker C normally receives $2,000 a fortnight. This includes the wages for the reduced hours they work ($1,600), and the payments they receive for their accepted WorkCover claim ($400). Worker C's employer now pays him $1,500 a fortnight under the JobKeeper scheme. Worker C has been stood down.
What payments does Worker C get?
The WorkCover insurer will generally pay the difference after the employer pays the $1,500, to allow the worker to receive what they would otherwise be earning. In this case, Worker C will receive $1,500 a fortnight from their employer under JobKeeper, and $500 under WorkCover. The most important thing to remember is that the JobKeeper payment is classified as'income'. This means that if a worker is receiving WorkCover payments, an insurer may alter their entitlements on the basis that their'income' has changed. This will differ for each individual as anytime during, or at the conclusion of the JobKeeper scheme, various other factors such as capacity and the entitlement period a worker is within, will be considered.
If you have any concerns regarding your weekly payments or would like further information, feel free to speak to one of our WorkCover lawyers on (03) 9321 9988.