New Average Weekly Wage Calculation Rules

The Workers’ Compensation Division recently issued new rules for calculating average weekly wage. The new rules will apply to claims with dates of injury on or after February 21, 2018.

Under the new rule:

  • When a worker is paid irregular wages and there is an increase or decrease in the worker’s pay rate in the previous 52 weeks before the injury/occupational disease, this will not constitute a “new wage earning agreement.”
  • The insurer must calculate the worker’s average weekly hours worked at each pay rate since the last wage earning agreement (not to exceed 52 weeks).
  • The average hours at each pay rate will then be multiplied by the pay rate at the time of injury/occupational disease.
  • Any irregular wages not paid on an hourly rate must also be averaged and added to the average weekly wage.

Some things to note:

  • Under the previous rule, the insurer still averaged the total earning since the previous wage earning agreement, but it was not clear if a change in the hours worked or rate of pay constituted a new wage earning agreement. The, unintended, result was significantly lower calculations for many workers.
  • The WCD is also looking into preparing bulletins, calculators, and other materials to help with these calculations.
  • These are temporary rules set to expire in August 2018, but the WCD is moving forward with permanent rule changes. The WCD needs your input on claim costs, ability to apply these rules, or other issue that arise from these temporary rules.
  • The WCB also recently address the changes to the union-hall time-loss rules and concluded an averaging of wages under different rates during the 52 weeks prior to injury was permissible. Richard Poland, 70 Van Natta 172 (2018).

 

If you have any questions regarding the new rules for calculating average weekly wage, please do not hesitate to contact me.