The WA Police Union wants to see a Police Compensation Scheme introduced by the end of 2018 to ensure that police officers who are injured in the line of duty and cannot work again are protected.

Any scheme introduced needs to complement the existing work and non-work related medical benefits, which are the best in the country.

Current State of Play

If police officers are injured or become ill on the job, they have a number of options.

Firstly, they are serving officers, they can access sick leave and medical benefits under the Industrial Agreement to have their injury or illness treated. The system is the best in Australia for assisting police officers to recuperate from their injuries or illnesses and return to the frontline.

For those unlucky few who are injured or become ill and can no longer serve as police officers, the system is unfair.

They can access work-related medical benefits to cover their medication and treatment under the Police (Medical and Other Expenses for Former Officers) Act 2008 however, there is nothing provided to cover loss of their income.

To add insult to injury, they are medically retired using the same loss of confidence provisions used to remove police officers under the disciplinary model. So not only are these police officers left with limited financial support, they also have to endure the removal process that states that the Commissioner of Police has lost confidence in them.

What WAPU wants

In August 2017, WAPU presented a proposal to the Minister for Police to introduce payment to police officers that are medically retired from WA Police.

The proposal is designed to ensure that future medically retired police officers aren't discarded in the way they have been in the past.

View the proposal sent to the Minister of Police

Medical Retirement

WAPU has long petitioned for medical retirement to be taken out of Section 8 of the Police Act and be inserted elsewhere in the Act.

It is disheartening and wholly unfair on Members to be removed from the WA Police Force via Loss of Confidence when they are medically retired, particularly given Section 8 is the usual vehicle for removing Members on integrity and conduct grounds.

We don't petition for a widening or narrowing of the power to medically retire, just a clearer separation in the Act between removal for Loss of Confidence as opposed to medical retirement.

It is proposed that when Members are medically retired and their impairment for work at the WA Police Force is work-related, they be entitled to a payment to assist in compensating them for loss of their income.

Loss of Income Payment

A payment would be in respect to loss of income only, and this proposal is not intended to affect entitlements to medical and other expenses under the existing Police (Medical and Other Expenses for Former Officers) Act 2008. This payment is not to be reduced by reason of any GESB or private insurance payment that might also be payable to the Member (e.g. under a Total and Permanent Disability insurance policy).

The loss of a police officer's income often has devastating effects on them and their family. Some medically retired police officers retain some work capacity on the open labour market. Others will never be fit for work of any nature. Medically retired police officers are of different ages and therefore at different stages of their career when medically retired. A scheme needs to recognise and deal with these different conditions.

Stated in its simplest form, our proposal is:

Payment = Maximum Sum x Level of Work Impairment x Age Factor*

We propose the Maximum Sum be initially set at $2,194,444 and be annually indexed at the Wage Price Index for Western Australia.

View the Actuarial Calculation WAPU provided to the Minister of Police

Examples

A 25-year-old Member who is medically retired and has no residual work capacity would be entitled to a payment of $2,194,444 calculated as follows:
Payment= $2,194,444 (Maximum Sum) x 100 per cent (Work Impairment) x 100 per cent (Age Factor)


 

A 43-year-old Member who is medically retired and is assessed as having a 50 per cent work impairment would be entitled to a payment of $899,722 calculated as follows:
Payment= $2,194,444 (Maximum Sum) x 50 per cent (Work Impairment) x 82 per cent (Age Factor)


 

A 58-year-old Member who is medically retired and is assessed as having a 20 per cent work impairment would be entitled to a payment of $210,667 calculated as follows:
Payment= $2,194,444 (Maximum Sum) x 20 per cent (Work Impairment) x 48 per cent (Age Factor)