(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Average Weekly Wage Decides Workers’ Comp Benefits

Guest blog by Jon Rehm of the Nebraska Bar

One of the factors that determines how much you receive in workers’ compensation benefits is the calculation of your average weekly wage. In Nebraska, in most cases, average weekly wage is calculated by:
  1. going back 26 weeks
  2. multiplying your hours times your straight time pay
  3. excluding abnormally low-hours weeks (generally those of 32 hours a week or less)
  4. taking the total amount of wages earned in non-abnormally low work weeks divided by the number of non-abnormal weeks. 
Multiply your average weekly wage by two-thirds, and that is what you should receive for your weekly workers’ compensation benefit. That amount is exempt from federal and state taxes in Nebraska, so your work comp check should oftentimes be close to your actual take-home pay, unless you are working a lot of overtime.

There are all sorts of exceptions to the basic way to calculate average weekly wage. If you receive a fixed amount for room and board as part of your contract, then that amount is included in addition to your wages. 

If you just started at your employer, then a court might look at what other workers were making in the six months before your injury to determine your average weekly wage. An employer might also try to reduce your workers’ compensation benefits if they can deem you a “seasonal employee.” School-district employees will often be paid workers’ compensation benefits based off a weekly average of their annual pay.

There are two types of workers’ compensation benefits: temporary and permanent. Employees who work less than 40 hours a week will be paid permanent disability benefits based on a 40-hour week. But please keep in mind that all of these rules vary from state to state.

Jon Rehm  practices in Lincoln, Nebraska (Rehm, Bennett & Moore, PC, LLO). He concentrates his practice on representing injured workers and their families. He hold a  degree in journalism from Northwestern University(B.S.) and a law degree from Nebraska College of Law(J.D.).  Jon is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys and the Workplace Injury Law Advocacy Group.