In Wisconsin, workers comp benefits are calculated based on the employee’s average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is very important because is helps determine the wage replacement or temporary total disability benefits and can impact the future loss replacement of permanent partial disability or loss of earning capacity benefits rate.

To determine the average weekly wage, generally, an employee’s wage is based on the employment in which the employee was actually working when injured, not some other job he may have but can no longer do because of the work related injury from a different job.

For a full-time worker, the average weekly wage is determined using the following two calculations:

First, the employee’s hourly earnings are multiplied by the average hours worked per day; this is then multiplied by the average days per week. Overtime hours are specifically excluded from a wage calculation unless they are part of the “normal full-time working day as established by the employer.” See Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.11(1)(a). The number of hours per day may be based on the employee’s schedule for the 90 total days before the injury. There is a rebuttable presumption that the usual full-time workweek for most employees is not less than 40 hours.

Secondly, determine the employee’s actual gross earnings in the 52 calendar weeks preceding the injury if the employee has worked during at least 6 weeks of those 52 weeks. Divide the actual gross earnings by the number of weeks in that 52-week period in which the employee earned any wage.

The average weekly wage is the higher of these two calculations. See Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.11(1)(d).

An employee’s average weekly wage is determined by the rates in effect on the employee’s date of injury subject to statutory maximums, which are increased periodically. See Wis. Stat. § 102.11(1). The only exception is for a renewed period of temporary disability more than two years after the date of injury.

Employees who are injured under age 27 are, by rebuttable presumption, raised to maximum wage for purposes of determining permanent disability and death benefits. See Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.11(1)(g).

In calculating a part-time worker’s average weekly wage, the general rule is that the worker’s wage is expanded to a full-time wage for the employment in question–usually to 40 hours. See Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.11(1)(a). Unless the employee is part of a regularly scheduled class of part-time employees or restricts his or her availability on the labor market to part-time work and is not employed full time elsewhere, see Wis. Admin. Code DWD 80.51(4).

[nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] in Milwaukee, Wisconsin answers to the claims process and workers comp benefits.