Article originally publish in Police News Magazine March 2024 Edition - click here to read original print

Income Protection win

TAL Insurance makes an important ruling on how Officer's pre-injury income gets calculated
In August 2023, a diligent branch official recommended one of our members reach out to the Police Association whilst facing the daunting aftermath of a workplace psychological\ injury, having been out of the workplace for almost one year.

The member had been receiving income protection payments from TAL Insurance since May 2023. Initially, TAL determined the injured officers pre-disability income to be $4286.77 per month less any offsets paid. The monthly benefit was restrained due to being evaluated based on a temporary part-time work arrangement of 24 hours per week at the time of injury.

Prior to being injured, our member was regularly working additional hours, with a view to return to full time work very soon. The member provided a SAP history of all hours worked in the 12 months prior to their date of injury which indicated they had been working an average of 32 hours per week in the 12 months leading up to being injured in the workplace despite the part time work agreement only being for 24 hours per week.

This prompted our Industrial team to advocate for a review and recalculation of the Pre Disability Income. The monthly benefit amount is assessed based on Pre Disability Income which is defined as “an officers salary at the date they become injured”. Accordingly, the Police Association sought, directly from TAL, for our members Pre Disability Income to be reviewed and recalculated based on the 32 hours the officer had been working as evidenced by the SAP history.

TAL conducted an investigation into the Pre Disability income and acknowledged the disparity and made a pivotal determination. Whilst TAL’s decision did not entirely align with the Police Association’s stance on the 12-month history, they recalculated the pre-disability income based on the 60 hours worked in the fortnight of the injury. As a result our member’s monthly benefit was amended to be “$5,358.47 [Less any offsets paid within the benefit period].

This was a significantly beneficial outcome for our member. It means an increase to the month benefit over $1000 per month for the next 6 and a half years, should the member require Income Protection for that long. It also means the member will receive a back payment for the months that they had already been paid the lower monthly benefit amount. 

This is potentially an additional $84,000 available to our member in the event they need to continue to access income protection due to their injury.

Our Industrial Team were able to take further steps to assist the member by writing to the employer seeking that the officer be reverted to full time hours as of the expiration of their part time arrangement. This request being substantiated by clear evidence that the officer had communicated their intention to return to full time hours with their Command/Business Unit prior to becoming injured.

This decision goes beyond an individual victory; it marks a significant stride for all our members navigating temporary part-time arrangements who are injured whilst on a clear and evident trajectory of resuming full time hours. The Police Association stands strong in ensuring the rights and well-being of its members, individually and on a broader scale.

Any member who has sustained an injury and requires advice on their entitlements under workers compensation, income protection of sick leave should contact the PANSW info@ or 9265 6777.