Understanding WorkCover Premiums

While premium impact is likely not the first thing employers consider when a new workers’ compensation claim is made, it is an important aspect of the WorkCover process that should be understood.  We are often asked when investigating and responding to damages claims, ‘How is this going to impact my premium?’

Helpfully, WorkCover Queensland recently hosted a webinar on this topic that included clear explanations on how WorkCover premiums are calculated, practical tips to minimise premiums impact and where to search for further information on premiums. 

how are premiums calculated?

WorkCover Queensland has two different models for calculating premiums based on the size of an employer. Employers with ‘assessable wages’ less than $1.5 million are placed under the ‘simplified model’. 

The ‘simplified model’ sets an employer’s premium based on a percentage of the relevant ‘Industry Rate’. An ‘Industry Rate’ is the average premium rate assigned to an employer’s particular industry classification.   

Employers on the ‘simplified model’ are assigned a policy rating (ranging from 1 to 5) based on their claims experience (i.e., the cost of claims) from the previous financial year, applied as a percentage of the industry rate. 

Policy Rating

Industry Rate %

1 (Employers with the lowest claim costs from the previous financial year)








5 (Employers with the highest claim costs from the previous financial year)


For larger employers with ‘assessable wages’ over $1.5 million, premiums are calculated on an ‘Experienced-Based Rating (EBR) Model’. This model takes various factors into account when determining premiums, including wages, the relevant industry rate and an employer’s performance.  An employer’s performance is determined by WorkCover’s claim management costs including statutory claim costs for the previous 3 years and damages claim costs for the preceding year.

what can employers do to reduce premiums?

All employers can benefit from implementing safe work practices and supporting injured workers returning to work. Employers on the ‘simplified model’ on policy ratings 2 to 5 (i.e., not on the lowest policy pricing) can improve their policy rating by a single point each year depending on their claims experiences. If an employer has no claim costs for a year, their policy rating will automatically improve by 1 rating (unless they are already on the cheapest available rating). 

Larger employers on the EBR Model can also reduce their premiums by taking steps to improve claims outcomes, such as engaging in return-to-work programs with injured employees, implementing effective health and safety measures and improving their claims history.

There is also a 3% early upfront payment discount available if an employer declares their wages by 31 August and pays their full premium by 16 September. 

Who to contact about your premiums?

For further information about their WorkCover premium, employers can call WorkCover on 1300 362 128 or visit their website. 

Employers can also contact their WorkCover Relationship Manager (if they have one) or the Customer Advisor on any current claims.

To access the full webinar provided by WorkCover Queensland, employers can follow the link here and register their details:

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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