Examining age differences in duration of wage replacement by injury characteristics

Occup Med (Lond). 2016 Dec;66(9):698-705. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqw168. Epub 2016 Dec 7.


Background: One explanation for why older age is associated with greater duration of wage replacement following a work-related injury may be that older workers sustain more severe injuries and different types of injury compared with their younger counterparts.

Aims: To examine the role of injury-related characteristics in explaining the impact of age on wage replacement duration, and whether the relationship between age and wage replacement duration is consistent across injury types and levels of severity.

Methods: A secondary analysis of workers' compensation claims in the Australian state of Victoria. In Victoria, only injuries which have accumulated >10 days of wage replacement, or have health care expenditures above a financial threshold, are eligible for compensation. Nested regression models were used to examine the relative contribution of injury-related characteristics to age differences in wage replacement duration.

Results: Older age was associated with greater days of wage replacement among men and women, even after adjusting for injury characteristics. Adjustment for differences in injury types and compensation reporting practices resulted in moderate attenuation of the age-duration relationship among men and small attenuation among women. The age-duration relationship was consistent across injury types/severity.

Conclusions: The relationship between older age and greater duration of wage replacement is ubiquitous across injuries of different types and severity. Future research is required to understand better why older age is consistently associated with worse compensation outcomes following work-related injury.

Keywords: Older workers; return to work; work-related injury; workers’ compensation..

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Injuries / economics*
  • Return to Work / economics*
  • Return to Work / statistics & numerical data
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / economics
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / statistics & numerical data
  • Victoria
  • Workers' Compensation / economics*
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace / standards
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data