Beware Part Time Employment

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Tom Domer of Wisconsin.

This post illustrates some of the differences in the workers’ compensation laws in each state. As Tom mentions below, New York’s law is a little different from Wisconsin’s law. Unlike Wisconsin, New York allows for an injured workers’ average weekly wage to be calculated based upon concurrent employment. That is, the New York workers’ compensation law calculates average weekly wage based on the injured workers’ total compensation from all jobs. For example, if a worker is employed at the Goose Island corporation making $600/week and also has a second job at Troegs Incorporated where he makes $400/week, and the employee is injured at either, New York’s workers’ compensation law calculates his average weekly wage based upon the combined weekly salary from both employers, which is $1,000.

Workers’ Compensation will only cover you for the specific job on which you got hurt.

Wisconsin pays worker’s compensation benefits based only on the job on which an employee works, even if the employee’s injury makes it impossible for him to work in his regular job. In these difficult economic times, many workers are forced to take a second part time job to supplement their incomes. Unfortunately if the worker is hurt at the part time job, only the wages earned from the part time job will be used to calculate worker’s compensation benefits, even if an injury on the part time job means the worker will not be able to return to his full time job.

For example, a cook re-hired at a former wage by the restaurant where he was hurt could not claim a Loss of Earning Capacity based on his inability to return to his second job as a cab driver. Ruff v. LIRC (Ct. of Appeals 1990)

In other States rules may differ. For example, in New York a public works department must pay worker’s comp benefits based on a worker’s departmental job plus another job he held on the side. Under New York worker’s comp law, the department was required to pay benefits to the worker based on his average weekly wages from “all concurrent employments”. That is not the case in Wisconsin.

Although the wage for part time employment can be expanded in Wisconsin (if the worker has no other job), getting hurt on a part time job may have unpleasant consequences for Wisconsin workers.

Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.
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