The Work Capacity Decision review process, including the ability to seek a Merit Review by the authority, was introduced into the Workers Compensation Scheme in 2012 Amendments to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (the Act).
Those reforms effectively split what had formerly been the exclusive jurisdiction of the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) to determine Workers Compensation disputes into two streams, except for exempt workers who remain covered by the former provisions.
Post 2012 WCC Disputes and Work Capacity Decision Reviews
The chart below highlights the disputes, decision types and issues which remain the exclusive jurisdiction of the WCC, and those which proceed down the Work Capacity Decision review path. (See Chart)
Workers Compensation Commission (WCC)
Liability – a decision to dispute liability for weekly payments of compensation
Medical – a medical dispute under Part 7 of Chapter 7 of the 1998 Act
WIM – Work Injury Management disputes
WID – Work Injury Damages disputes
Legal Costs – S.341 ‘each party bears their own costs’
ILARS (WIRO) – Grants for legal representation of workers at WCC, costs schedule increased by 15%
Work Capacity Decision (s.43) Reviews (s.44BB, IR, MRS, WIRO)
Work capacity – a decision about a worker’s current work capacity
Suitable Employment – a decision about what constitutes suitable employment and the amount a worker is able to earn in suitable employment
PIAWE & CWE – a decision about Pre Injury Average Weekly Earnings or Current Weekly Earnings amounts
Injury Risk – a decision about a worker’s ability to engage in employment without risk of injury. Any other decision of an insurer that affects a worker’s entitlement to weekly payments of compensation