Green’s Dictionary of Slang

compo n.

[abbr. + -o sfx (3); note WWI milit. compo, pay; money]

1. workers’ compensation, payment for time lost after an injury at work.

[Aus]Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW) 19 Feb. 2/5: If these men are able to carry pianos, organs, stoves, and heavy furniture, why do they want compo?
[UK]L. Ortzen Down Donkey Row 145: I puts a slister onter the job. I mean, wot’s the Workman’s Compo Act for?
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 291: ‘If you do slice your hand, they put you on compo. . . .’ Seeing them puzzled, she explained: ‘Compensation money while it heals’.
[UK]S. Murphy Stone Mad (1966) 146: If a man broke his neck coming out of wan [...] There’s very little chance of getting compo outa the clergy.
[NZ]B. Mason Awatea (1978) 105: Mortgages on houses, tax forms, social security, compo.
[UK](con. 1940s) G. Stewart Leveller 139: The Bucko paid off on compo with a bad back.
[Aus] in Lowenstein & Hills Under Hook 16: He was even considering if he could go for Compo for a bad back.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 30/1: compo compensation for lost wages from work-related injury, formalised as Accident Compensation. – on compo in receipt of such.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 152: compo (a compensation payout for injuries sustained on the job, c. 1930, though probably coined earlier) being widely known and used.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 193: The prick tried on a compo for years. Non-smoker forced to endure smoke in confined spaces, et cetera.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 134: When you’re telling the truth no one believes you — especially compo doctors. Compensation doctors obey the ethics of the profession.
[NZ]P. Wilson N.Z. Jack 176: One of his eyes was knocked out in a shunting accident. [...] Then he bought this place with the compo money.

3. a compositor.

[US]Broadway Brevities Aug. 22/2: Will the compo please space three lines at the foot of this item for another probable funeral notice.

4. any form of compensation; also attrib.

[NZ]B. Crump Hang On a Minute, Mate (1963) 113: Have to tell him the dog got run over and the bloke who did it gave us five quid compo.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Hole in One’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] These ‘unseen’ injuries can mount up in the old compo stakes!
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read How to Shoot Friends 204: As for his nice new compo cheque? [...] I am confident that she will have that little lot spent in no time flat.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] I saw a good few people [...] try to get compo out of the prison by doing all kinds of things to themselves.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 177: He’s still got to have a few bob compo from somewhere.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 31: Got three grand compo, tho, didn’t I?
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 282: Mort’ll square it off — a few quid compo, a few rounds of drinks.

In derivatives

compo-itis (n.)

(Aus./N.Z.) the counterfeiting or extension of one’s disability in the hope of gaining more compensation payments.

[NZ]Owen & Perkins Speaking for Ourselves 197: I think compo-itis was the most striking disease. I imagine that’s disappeared with the advent of Accident Compensation [DNZE].

In compounds

compo artist (n.) (also compo king) [-artist sfx/-king sfx]

(Aus./N.Z.) one who is a specialist in the extraction of monetary compensation by faking or exaggerating their supposedly work-related injuries.

[NZ]N.Z. Observer 24 Nov. 7: Non-unionists have been recipients of much unwelcome publicity, due...also to the operations of ‘compo’ artists [DNZE].
[Aus] Baker N.Z. Sl. 52: Compo king, a social parasite who makes a practice of injuring himself or malingering in order to secure workers’ compensation.
[NZ]B. Crump Odd Spot of Bother 122: Of all the barflies, shout-dodgers, compo-kings, touch-artists, takes, spruikers, bludgers, spongers, and other hopeful hangers-on.
[NZ](con. 1930s) H. Anderson Men of the Milford Road 95: In the PWD there was a sprinkling of what were known as ‘compo kings’. These were men who always seemed to be on compo and they fell into well-defined categories.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 30/1: compo king malingerer or self-mutilator, with the aim of getting compo.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].