Schoolteacher secures AWW calculation based on wages earned, not paid
The Florida District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the judge of compensation claims' order in which the JCC found that the claimant was entitled to benefits based on the amount she was paid instead of the amount she earned.
Case name: Eaton v. Pinellas County School Bd., 15 FLWCLB 191 (Fla. 1st Dist. Ct. App. 2008).
What it means: Under Florida law, an employee's average weekly wage should be based on one-thirteenth of the total amount of wages earned in employment during the previous 13 weeks. Therefore, where an employee works for less than one year but is paid over a 12-month period in equal payments throughout the year, her AWW should be based on her total earnings and not on her actual weekly payments.
Summary: A schoolteacher injured her low back while packing and moving boxes. For the 2002-03 school year, the claimant contracted with the school board for a salary of $31,400. Her contract was for 10 months, but she signed an option agreement, which spread payment of her wages over 12 months. The employer/carrier argued that the claimant's AWW was $599.24, the weekly amount she was paid in the 13 weeks preceding her accident. However, the claimant contended that her AWW was $740.57, based on the weekly amount she earned in the 13 weeks preceding the accident. The DCA held that because the claimant earned $740.57 per week during the 13-week period preceding her accident, she was entitled to an AWW based on this amount, regardless of when she chose to receive the money she earned.
January 15, 2009
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