If you have been injured on the job and your injury is preventing you from being able to work, the Workers\’ Compensation system has been designed to provide you with weekly benefits. This will apply whether you are totally disabled or partially disabled and still able to obtain employment.
Regardless of how badly you have been injured, the number of benefits you may be entitled to will be based on the Average Weekly Wage. Calculating the Average Weekly Wage will generally be the first thing that will need to be completed for you to receive your benefits.
Average Weekly Wage: What Is It?
Your average weekly wage is the starting point in calculating workers\’ compensation wage loss benefits including permanent total disability, temporary partial, and temporary total. This term is an average of how much you earned per week over the past 26 weeks. While this may seem like an easy calculation if you consistently received paychecks for the same amount over the last year, it is rare for anyone to receive constant pay.
It does not matter if your pay consisted of bonuses, commission, or raises, the calculations can become difficult over time. The calculation process can also become complicated if you were classified as a seasonal employee or if there was a period you were out of work. As a result, there will be some cases when the Average Weekly Wage will be taken over more or less than 26 weeks.
Minnesota and Average Weekly Wage Benefits
In Minnesota, if you are an injured worker, your average weekly wage on the date of injury will control the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive. To calculate your weekly wage, you can multiply your daily wage by the number of days and partial days you worked. However, calculations for part-time employment, irregular employment, and overtime wages will differ.
If you work frequent or regular overtime throughout the year, your overtime earnings will be calculated into your gross weekly wages. For example, if Richard makes $350 a week in regular pay but also works an additional four hours and earns $50, Richard\’s gross weekly pay will be $400. The minimum weekly payment is $130 as of October 2020 or your actual weekly wage, whichever is the lesser amount. The maximum weekly pay is 102 percent of the SAWW (Statewide Average Weekly Wage). As of October 1, 2020, the maximum weekly compensation payable in Minnesota is $1,166.88. The maximum compensation rate changes every year on October 1st.
Regular Earnings vs. Irregular Earnings
As an injured worker, your average weekly wage will be calculated differently if depending on your earnings. Your wages will be considered irregular if there is a difference in how many hours you have worked each day or in the number of days you worked during the week. The calculations can also vary if your hourly wage is not consistent. Calculations for the exact average weekly wage will consider a variety of factors. These are only a few reasons why it is recommended to consult with an experienced workers\’ compensation attorney.
Part-Time Employment and Workers Compensation
If you were not a full-time employee when the injury occurred, how will your disability benefits be calculated? When Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits need to be calculated, Minnesota will generally calculate the benefits by doing the following:
- Taking your total gross earnings over the past 26 weeks and dividing that number by how many days you worked.
- Dividing the number of days you worked by the number of ways you worked over the past 26 weeks
- Multiplying the Average Daily Wage (ADW) by the average number of days you worked
We understand how difficult and complex these calculations can be, but it is typically easier to understand when numbers are involved. As an example, Jessie made $4,500 from her part-time job in the past 26 weeks, and she always worked 2 days out of the week. This means Jessie worked 52 days and earned around $86 a day.
We can take the number of days Jessie worked (52) and divide it by the number of weeks she worked over the past 26 weeks. If Jessie worked 2 days a week every week, this means she did not miss a week of work. As a result, we take the amount Jessie earns per day ($86) and multiply it by the number of days(2) she worked, and this will equate to a gross weekly pay of roughly $173.
If you have more than one part-time job and the injury impacts your ability to work each job, you can calculate the gross weekly earnings from the additional part-time jobs. If your status changes from part-time employment to full-time employment in the 26 weeks before your injury, the calculations of your wages should use the weeks you were employed full-time.
How Will My Case Be Impacted?
Your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) impacts various aspects of your workers\’ compensation case. One of the biggest impacts it will have on your case is how much your weekly checks will be. The Average Weekly Wage will also impact how the insurance company attempts to transition you into work. If your Average Weekly Wage is high, it will be difficult for a new job to be found that can accommodate your injuries while you also receive the money you earned before the injury.
Calculating your Average Weekly Wage is a critical part of your workers\’ compensation case. When you are injured on the job, you are entitled to a variety of benefits, including lost wages. We understand the entire process can be overwhelming, but our attorneys at Harvey & Carpenter are here to help you navigate your way through it. We handle all the difficult aspects of the case so you can focus on the healing process.
If you would like a free consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling at 507-779-7529 or emailing [email protected]. You can also schedule a free consultation by completing our online form.