If you are like many Minnesota workers, you regularly work overtime and rely on those earnings in order to pay your bills and support yourself or your family. It can be a really good thing if your employer has overtime work available, and pays at overtime rates. However, wage loss benefits are often overlooked for overtime workers that suffer a work injury.
If an employee suffers a work injury, but can still work as a result (under work restrictions), most Minnesota employers that can accommodate the employee to continue working with those restrictions only allow employees to work up to 40 hours per week on light duty. This caps the employee’s wage at 40 hours per week, rather than the 40-plus-overtime hours they may have been earning before the injury.
As a result, the employee will often suffer wage loss if he or she consequently works that light duty job. This is because they are no longer able to work those overtime hours that help them get by, and it is that “overtime” wage loss that often gets overlooked. Whether intentional or not, insurers often do not pay those wage loss benefits to injured workers who are able to work 40 hours per week. However, if the overtime employee is earning less wages in working (capped at 40 hours per week), they are still entitled to wage loss benefits.
Average Weekly Wages
A worker is entitled to wage loss benefits of 2/3 the difference between their average weekly wage (AWW) prior to the accident and their weekly earnings after the accident. AWW does not depend on just what the worker earns per hour, but is rather an average of earnings grossed per week prior to the accident.
Therefore, if you suffer a work injury and you were a regular overtime employee before the accident, be aware that you may be entitled to wage loss benefits if you are not able to work those same overtime hours.
Workers’ Comp issues are very complex in the state of Minnesota. If you have any questions about a workers’ comp issue, contact a skilled MN workers’ comp attorney.