Elizabeth Aaberg

Wage Calculation of H-2A Visa Workers in Washington

The United States H-2A visa program allows employers to bring foreign nationals into the country to fill temporary agricultural positions. Due to labor shortages, it has become common for employers in Washington to hire temporary agricultural workers through the H-2A visa program. Wage calculation in workers compensation cases involving H-2A workers has become a frequent issue. The rate of time loss benefits a worker is due depends in large part on their gross monthly wages at the time of injury (or manifestation of occupational diseases. RCW 51.08.178 dictates how wages are calculated based on the workers employment pattern. Workers with a regular and continuous employment pattern fall under RCW 51.08.178(1) (“Subsection 1”). Under Subsection 1, wage calculations generally involve averaging… Continue reading

Washington: COVID 19 and Voluntary Termination/Unemployment Benefits

Workers’ Compensation Is time loss due if a worker performing modified duty takes a voluntary layoff in the context of COVID-19? According to RCW 51.32.090(4), if a worker is performing modified duty and that modified duty “comes to an end”, before his or her recovery is sufficient to permit a return to the job of injury or other available work offered by the employer of injury, time loss should be reinstated. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many layoffs and company closures. If a worker performing modified duty loses his or her job due to a company shut down or involuntary layoff due to lack of business, the modified duty will have come to an end under RCW 51.32.090(4). Therefore,… Continue reading