Seasonal worker loses battle to obtain workers' comp benefits at maximum rate
The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the Workers' Compensation Commission's finding that the claimant was not entitled to temporary total disability benefits at the maximum compensation rate of $466 per week. Because he was under contract to work only nine weeks, it was just and fair to divide his total wage by 52 weeks.
Case name: Sierra v. Gin, No. 07-1104 (Ark. 09/25/08).
What it means: In Arkansas, an employee's status as a seasonal or temporary worker is an "exceptional circumstance" that warrants the use of a different formula to calculate his average weekly wage for workers' compensation purposes. The commission may determine the AWW by a method that is just and fair to all parties concerned.
The claimant contracted with the employer to work for nine weeks at the rate of $1,020 per week. After he sustained a work-related fall, the employer and its carrier paid his medical expenses and TTD benefits at the rate of $118 per week. The claimant contended that he was entitled to the maximum rate because it was consistent with the AWW he earned under the contract of hire. He also argued that his seasonal worker status was not an exceptional circumstance justifying the use of a different formula. The Supreme Court concluded that the commission reasonably calculated the claimant's AWW by dividing the total wage by 52 weeks rather than nine weeks. The commission found that it would be unjust and unfair to award the claimant TTD benefits at the maximum rate because he would receive more disability benefits after 20 weeks than he was contracted to earn in nine weeks.
November 4, 2008
Copyright 2008© LRP Publications