What is my “Average Weekly Wage”?

By Lucas Cusack

            A phrase that you will hear a lot during your Workers’ Compensation claim is “Average Weekly Wage.” This number is important since it ends up determining what you will be paid throughout the rehabilitative process- Temporary total disability or temporary partial disability numbers are 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to a certain amount. So, how do you find out what your number is?

            The law that applies is §287.250 and it gives several ways to figure out your average weekly wage is. The first is simple; if you are paid by the week, that amount is your average weekly wage. The second method is a little more complicated: if you are paid by the month, take that number, multiply by 12 and then divide by 52. The third method is for those who are paid on a fixed annual basis- take your number and divide by 52. Finally, and most common, is the average weekly wage for those who are paid by the hour (or day or output.) To determine an hourly worker’s average weekly wage, take the past 13 weeks and add up the earnings and then divide that number by 13.

            However, the hourly worker’s calculation can get more difficult as you apply more of the law. For example, if you have not worked for your employer for 13 weeks, you use the number of weeks you have worked- If you have been there 8 weeks, take the last 8 weeks, add up the number and divide by 8. If you have been with your employer less than 2 weeks when you get injured, the rate will be based on the number of hours scheduled and your weekly rate. Another important rule is whether you have missed 5 regular or scheduled work days in that time. This means 5 days total, not consecutive or in one week. If you have missed 5 days, you take a week out of the calculation- meaning dividing by 12 rather than 13. Similarly, if you began work in the middle of a calendar week, that partial week is excluded. There are other provisions that matter too, if you are an employee who makes money through tips- such as a waiter or waitress- that money is included in the calculation.

            Calculating your average weekly wage is a crucial step in the process of your worker’s compensation claim since it will determine the rate of money that you are entitled to through the law. If you have any questions about calculating your average weekly wage or other questions about worker’s compensation, feel free to give the attorneys at Bollwerk & Tatlow a call or email directly me at [email protected]!

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