You are unable to return to work with NSWPF, however your treatment providers have certified you as having some capacity for work outside of the NSWPF. Let’s talk about the different scenarios that might be applicable to you as you transition out of the NSWPF. 


The following information relates to sworn Police Officers only as they are considered exempt workers in the Workers Compensation Act 1987 No 70. If you are an administrative employee of NSW Police, please see the SIRA claims management guide or consult your Case Manager regarding your benefits.

Find more information on police career transition on our website, including managing other aspects of your finances.


Section 38

You are entitled to 80% of your salary (Section 38) for up to 52 weeks while you are job-seeking or retraining with an approved SIRA/EML training provider. You do not need to be medically retired from NSWPF to start receiving this benefit.

Section 38 entitlements are available for a maximum of 52 weeks and you must be actively job-seeking or retraining during this time. You will be encouraged to take advantage of all available services supporting your recovery and job-seeking within the first 52 weeks, before your rate reduces to the Statutory Rate.

Section 38 and income protection entitlements

If your Section 38 entitlements are greater than your income protection entitlements, you would most likely not receive the income protection “top-up”.

You are still entitled to claim income protection following this 52-week period, unless of course, your new employment pays you more than your entitlement under income protection.

To be entitled to Section 38 payments, you must demonstrate that you are:

  • ready, willing and able to accept an offer of suitable employment from an employer; and
  • medically certified as having only partial incapacity for work, and partial capacity for suitable employment; and
  • taking reasonable steps to obtain suitable employment

Your return to health and return to work following injury is important for your long-term wellbeing. In either of the following scenarios your case manager will refer you to a vocational rehabilitation specialist who helps you to identify suitable career goals, retrain and secure employment when you are fit to do so.

Scenario 1 - exhausted 13 weeks of award rate under S36

Scenario 1 - you have ONLY exhausted 13 weeks of your award rate under S36

Your entitlement under Section 38, would be as follows:

Section 38: 52 weeks
First 13 weeks paid at your award rate Next 39 weeks paid at 80% of your award rate 

Scenario 2 - exhausted entitlement to award rate under S36 (26wks)

Scenario 2 - you have exhausted your entitlement to your award rate under S36 (26 weeks) 

Your entitlement under Section 38, would be as follows:

Section 38: 52 weeks
Full 52 weeks paid at 80% of your Award Rate


Case study – attempted return to work


Joe has a daughter and son aged 25 and 27 years, and he does not live with a spouse. For 16 weeks, he has had no capacity for work and is focussed on his recovery and considering his next career.

He has received Recognition of Prior Learning (RPLs) from his Rehabilitation Provider and identified a career pathway that requires him to complete a short course in order for him to be a candidate for roles in that field.

Joe’s treating doctor is supportive of the career pathway and upgrades Joe as having capacity for that job.

Joe can now seek approval for retraining and commence the short course. He is also eligible for Section 38 payments.

What payments are received?

After week 16 when Joe meets the eligibility criteria for Section 38, he is paid the higher amount of either:

  • 80% of his pre-injury salary (CWWR); or
  • his Statutory Rate

From information provided by Joe in his statutory declaration form, it is considered that Joe has no dependents.

Remember, children are considered dependent between the ages of 16 and 21 so long as they are a full-time student, and from the age of 21 years they are considered no longer dependent.

For Joe, the Section 38 entitlements are higher than his Statutory rate.

He is now paid 80% of his CWWR for a maximum of 36 weeks.

After the 52-week eligibility period for Section 38 entitlements

Where you have been receiving Section 38 benefits and more than 52 weeks have elapsed, your benefits will revert to your statutory rate. This change applies whether you have obtained employment or not.

At this time, an Earning Capacity Assessment may be performed to determine your earning capacity and your weekly payment entitlements. You will either continue to be paid the statutory rate, or a reduced amount determined by the Earning Capacity Assessment and in line with section 40A of the 1987 Act.

If your weekly entitlements are to be reduced or discontinued, the insurer must provide adequate notice.

For workers who have been receiving weekly payments of compensation for a continuous period of one year (52 weeks) or more, the prescribed period of notice is six weeks.

If you have an income protection claim you may be entitled to claim income protection after the 52-week eligibility period for Section 38 entitlements. You would not be eligible to claim income protection entitlements if your new employment pays you more than your income protection entitlement.

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