Some Minnesota workers seeking wage replacement benefits after workplace injuries worked a significant amount of overtime before their injuries. A big concern for many will be getting benefits that account for the overtime worked, because those wages helped pay the bills. If benefits do not account for the overtime, workers injured on the job could be stuck receiving a lot less money while they recover.
Minnesota employees who are not exempt earn overtime pay when they work more than 48 hours in a week. Overtime pay is paid at one and one-half times the regular hourly rate. Under federal law, some employers have to pay overtime when workers work more than 40 hours in a week.
If you are taking time off work to recover from a workplace injury and you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, your wage loss benefit does factor in overtime. Specifically, temporary total disability (TTD) benefit amounts consider your gross weekly wage at the time of injury. You receive TTD benefits when you are totally off work for a short period of time.
To calculate TTD benefits, insurance companies determine two-thirds of your gross weekly wage including any cost of living adjustments. If you frequently work overtime throughout the year prior to the injury, the insurance company should factor in overtime to your total gross weekly wage. If you work for more than one employer when you are injured, the gross weekly wage should include wages from all employers. Further, if you receive tips declared on your paystub, room and board, or other compensation, that should be part of the gross weekly wage too.
If you believe that your TTD benefit calculation does not include overtime, you should gather documentation of the overtime you have worked in the last year. This can include paystubs and time records. You will need to challenge the benefit calculation with the insurance company and maybe before a judge, and you probably need the help of a lawyer.
Unfortunately, insurance companies may lowball the average weekly wage to avoid paying workers more money in benefits. This hurts workers who are recovering and cannot bring home paychecks. Since wage loss TTD benefits are two-thirds of the average weekly wage even if it is calculated correctly, workers are already losing money. However, do not push to return to work before you are fully healed. Seek legal advice to get the benefits you need.
Need help getting workers’ compensation benefits that account for overtime you worked before your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.