Report back on the meeting between the IWSN and SIRA (the regulator) on PIAWE
On the 23rd of March the IWSN met with the regulator to discuss potential changes to the way pre-injury average weekly earnings are calculated.
Lets start off with the problem. That is, barely anyone in the system understands how they should be calculated properly and unless you are on a fixed income with no weekly variations or entitlements, the chances are the insurers are getting it wrong. After all, 75% of insurance case managers don't know how to do it correctly (regulator's figures).
Why is it so complicated?
The act has a definition in three different part of the document, it depends on when you started work, what type of allowances you take home, they category of work you fall under (full-time, part-time, casual etc..) even what a week actually means and who is doing the defining of that week. that's not the end of it but you should get the picture by now that it is a mess.
If the insurer gets it wrong, there is nothing in the act that says you should be back paid (another definition problem there).
Beyond those points, the actual mathematical calculations change depending on the insurer.
So the meeting was very short in an extremely pointed way. We argued strongly that the calculation of pre-income average weekly earnings should be based entirely on the actual money you received in the past 12 months pre-injury.
We also argued that unless the regulator could produce a calculation that the average injured worker could understand and do themselves, any attempt at writing a regulation to give clarity would be a failure.
So will it change? We don't know yet, we can hope so. too much rides on this to let the current failed system continue. The regulator has committed to further consultations and we have committed to joining with the union movement in their submission to these consultations - mostly because the person who joined us in the meeting, Sherri Hayward from the CFMEU, an expert (if there is one) in PIAWE will be drafting it, and agrees with our position.
We can only wait and see if it works.