Tag Archives: wage loss

Regular Overtime Workers – Often Overlooked Wage Loss

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.

Lost Wages

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.

Wage Loss Benefits

What to do if the Insurance Company Stops Paying your Wage Loss Benefits

If you receive a Notice of Intention to Discontinue (NOID) from the insurance company paying your wage loss benefits you need to take action immediately to make sure you continue to get the benefits you deserve. A NOID can mean many things. It could mean one type of benefit has ended and another has begun, or it could mean that all wage loss benefits from the date of the NOID forward will be denied.

There are countless possible reasons why the insurance company may decide to stop paying you. If you feel they have unjustly cut you off, what you do next is extremely important. Here are some tips on what to do next:

Contact an attorney. This should be the first thing you do. An attorney is your best chance of getting your benefits reinstated quickly.

Request an Administrative Conference by calling the number on the NOID. It is important that you request an Admin Conference within 12 days of the date the NOID was served. You can find the service date of the NOID on the second page in the bottom right hand corner. If you request an Admin Conference within 12 days you will be granted an audience with a judge within two to four weeks.

If you do not request a conference within the 12 days you will have no choice but to file an Objection to Discontinuance. An Objection to Discontinuance can take up to 60 days before you are able to get in front of a judge, another 30 days for a judge to render a decision, and another 14 days before you start getting paid again.

Obviously, the quicker you can get in front of a judge the quicker you can start getting paid again. These Admin Conferences are only Band-Aids and are appealable by either side. Even if you are able to reinstate your benefits the fight for your benefits has just begun.

Wage Loss Benefits for a New Employee: Are You Getting the Compensation you Deserve?

In Minnesota, a person is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if he or she suffers an injury on the job. An injured worker can receive wage loss benefits (money) if their injury forces them to work fewer hours.

Determining wage loss benefits is often straight forward. The controlling factor is the worker’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW). If the injured worker is off work completely due to the injury, they get 2/3 his or her AWW. If the injured worker is working fewer hours due to work restrictions, they get 2/3 the difference between the AWW and the amount they are earning while on work restrictions.

Determining the AWW

The AWW is generally found by averaging the employee’s wages during the 26 weeks prior to the injury. Pretty easy, right? Well, most of the time.

The reality is that an employee’s AWW can be a major issue on a workers’ compensation claim. This is particularly true for injured workers that just started working for their employer. This is because the “26 weeks prior” may not accurately reflect the wage loss the person may suffer as a result of the work injury, especially for new or recently hired employees.

Orientation Pay

What if the injured worker was hurt while receiving “orientation pay,” or injured during the “training period,” or before they were eligible to receive commissions for their work? The 26 weeks prior calculation may not be a fair reflection of the wages they were in fact going to receive. Often the insurers will attempt to calculate the AWW by using this simple equation:

The total pay to the employee in the 26 weeks immediately prior to the injury, divided by 26.

The unfortunate reality is that for new employees, this often short shrifts the injured worker from the amount of wage loss benefits they should actually be receiving.

If you are a new employee and get injured at work, be aware that the simple “26 weeks prior” average may not provide you with the wage loss benefits to which you are entitled. New employees that get injured are more often shortchanged regarding wage loss benefits.

In these situations, a skilled workers’ comp attorney can advocate for an appropriate AWW, to make sure you get the wage loss benefits you deserve.