Calculating Workers’ Compensation Rates In Pennsylvania

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, workers are entitled to benefits for lost wages equal to two-thirds of their weekly wage for an employment-related injury. Injuries occurring in the course and scope of employment are compensable under the Act, which provides for minimum and maximum adjustments, setting the benefit rate using the annual maximum rate effective at the time of injury. The maximum is based on the Department of Labor and Industry’s calculation of the statewide average weekly wage.Calculating Workers’ Compensation Rates In Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry announced that for any injuries that occur in the year 2016, the maximum compensation rate will be $978 per week, an increase of $27 from 2015’s maximum compensation rate, of $951 weekly. There is a seven-day waiting period for the payment of wage loss disability benefits following injury. Appeals of decisions have three levels, Workers’ Compensation Judge to Appeal Board, Appeal Board to Commonwealth Court and Commonwealth Court to Supreme Court. Because workers’ compensation claims are form-intensive and require strict adherence to statutory procedure, claimants require the expertise and experience of the attorneys at Powell Law.

The most common calculation of benefits under the Act is outlined in 77 Pa. C.S.A. § 309 of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The injured employee’s average weekly wage is calculated using the gross wages of the employee over the fifty-two (52) weeks prior to the work injury. The fifty-two (52) weeks are divided into four thirteen-week calendar quarter periods. 77 Pa. C.S.A. § 583. The three highest thirteen-week periods are added together, and divided by three, resulting in the average weekly wage. If the injured employee has worked less than a full calendar quarter, wages are based upon the “expectations of the parties.”

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, because there is a maximum benefit rate, highly-paid workers may, and usually do, receive less than 2/3 of their average weekly wage. Additionally, depending upon certain factors, some workers will receive either a fixed rate or 90 percent of their prior average earnings. It is also important to report any income from “concurrent employment,”which is employment for work other than the job where the injury occurred. Concurrent employment income may entitle an injured worker to a higher workers’ compensation rate.

“Average Weekly Wage” calculations can become very complicated when other factors must be considered as part of the overall analysis. Powell Law can analyze your “Average Weekly Rate” calculation and answer any questions you may have.

Powell Law has litigated on behalf of employees seeking workers’ compensation benefits for 110 years. Your first consultation is free. Contact us online or call (570) 961-0777.

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